Sunday, December 27, 2009

Grading Shouldn't End With Meeting the Rubric

I just read You Can't Get Too Much of a Good Thing (Not!) at The Educators' Royal Treatment. The post was written by Adora Svitak, a 12 year old accomplished writer, educator, and student.

Adora writes about the need for teachers to provide constructive criticism for all student assignments, especially the ones that "meet the rubric". She gives some very specific examples of how such feedback for continued student growth might look. Adora's words on the need for teachers to provide feedback that goes beyond a grading rubric really resonated with me, so much so that I wrote a comment on her post.

I want to preserve my thoughts here, as well. I love commenting on blogs, but for some comments I hate that I "leave" the thoughts on another blog that I might not recall if the topic comes up again down the road!

So, for my own recollection later, and your information if you are interested, here are the comments I left on Adora's post:

Adora, I am currently a student in an online master's degree program and I want you to know I really, REALLY appreciated and related to your post above on the importance of feedback that goes beyond the rubric, especially when the assignment meets all or most of the rubric's requirements. On assignments where I do well, I still want to know what the grader thought about my ideas or be challenged to stretch my ideas.

I think back to a paper I did as an undergrad. I received a good grade on the paper, but I don't remember it exactly; I do remember a comment the professor wrote in the margin to this day, nearly 20 years later. I remember it because it challenged my beliefs and made me look at them and actually become more resolved in them.

As you so rightly pointed out, everyone, including a student who "meets the criteria" for an assignment, needs to be encouraged to grow from wherever they are. None of us ever arrives - but we can stagnate. A good teacher will use constructive dialog to help keep that stagnation from happening.