Today, I spent some time with Bean’s chapter “Using Rubrics to Develop and Apply Grading Criteria” from Engaging Ideas: The Professor’s Guide to Integrating Writing, Critical Thinking, and Active Learning in the Classroom. While I completely agree with his suggestions on including a rubric and loved all the helpful examples, I was left with some questions.
In my English 2 class, I started having the students write the rubric alongside me. We list all the important elements of a rubric up on the board (and I help supply some of them, especially if they miss major ones). Then, we might rope some together into common categories. And then, as a class, we decide how many points/percentages to ascribe to each category. When I did this for the spring semester, I even had students grade their own essays before turning them in to me for the first time, listing how many points they deserved for each section. They were amazingly accurate! Most of the time, the student ended up with the same letter grade they’d assigned themselves. This got me thinking: should I just have them grade their own papers? What is the use of commenting?
I’ve really enjoyed doing this, and would like to continue to do it, but am unsure of the research on it since rubrics are not my specialty. I know some of my colleagues are more well versed in that area, and I’m curious what they would have to say about my experimental rubric method. Which elements of this should I keep and where do you think I should go with it from here?