Designing Writing Assessments and Rubrics

Deborah Crusan, Wright State University
Presentation Date: 
November 14, 2013

In their quest for accountability in assessment, teachers might forget those to whom we should first be accountable: our students. Providing students with clear, accessible, and understandable assessment materials promotes accountability. Unfortunately, assessment of student writing is one of the tasks teachers worry about and, at times, nearly dread.

During this presentation, participants will learn procedures for developing tools for writing assessment that are transparent and understandable to students and that act as both teaching and assessment tools. We will first consider assignment criteria – what is it that we want our students to do? We will then consider the rubric, a grading instrument, which offers objectivity, consistency, clarity in assessing writing and concentrate on holistic, analytic, and to a lesser degree, primary trait assessment. We will also consider when and for what kinds of writing assignments each of these rubrics are most appropriate. Additionally, we will examine the components of rubrics (the criteria, the weight, the description) and the steps in creating a good rubric and how assignment criteria informs rubric creation.

Designing Writing Assessments and Rubrics will consider the issue of accountability in classroom assessment of writing. The absence of fair and transparent assessment often leads to student confusion, slows progress, assumptions of professorial arbitrariness, and quite possibly lack of trust in teacher-student relationships.