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ERIC Number: EJ1003154
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Nov
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 10
ISSN: ISSN-0013-8274
The Infamy of Grading Rubrics
Livingston, Michael
English Journal, v102 n2 p108-113 Nov 2012
At 12:30 p.m. on December 8, 1941, in front of a joint session of Congress, one day after Japanese planes struck Pearl Harbor and killed 2,402 Americans, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt declared December 7 a date that would live in infamy. He spoke of rage and betrayal, hardships and determination. Thirty-three minutes after he finished speaking, with only one dissenting vote, Congress responded by authorizing the president to sign a declaration of war against the Empire of Japan. The author brings up this powerful moment in history as a way to argue against many of those who argue against grading rubrics. The reason he is talking about Pearl Harbor and infamy when he really wants to talk about grading rubrics is that President Roosevelt declared war on Japan. He did not declare war on aviation. He knows that it seems like a silly thing to note, but consider: The attack would not have happened without planes, so why not declare war on them? No more planes, no more attacks, so a war on aviation. It is this same kind of false logic that is at work, he believes, in most of the recent assaults on grading rubrics. It's what one might call category error, and it is a fairly rudimentary failure in logic; however, it is a mistake all too easy to make, especially when discussions become driven by emotional or rhetorical concerns. Such discussions, need it be said, are all too common in education. And no one is immune. Addressing comments by well-known critics of rubrics (Alfie Kohn and Maja Wilson), the author explains why he still favors rubrics for responding to student writing. He finds the positives of using a flexible, individuated rubric within a system of grading to be many. Though the system as a whole is ultimately subjective--as he thinks any grading system must be--the rubric provides a small measure of objectivity by insisting that the teacher have a basis for the final assessment. (Contains 1 figure and 3 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A