This week served to confuse me in the rubric vs no-rubric debate. It also confused me on what a rubric actually is and what purpose it should serve. I’ve never written a rubric. Nor have i been given instruction on how to create or design them. My direct experience with rubrics is obviously nil and until i have my own classes i don’t think i can make an accurate determination of my thinking on them. This week’s readings did nothing to help.
Spandel is pro-rubric yet did not include examples of the rubrics she designed herself or the ones she and her students co-created. Seeing examples of her rubrics would helped me have a better idea of what function she believes rubrics serve. I also came away from her article with the idea that she herself is a little confused about the difference between rubrics and writing guides or assignment sheets. The rubrics she describes are so detailed and include so much instruction and hints they appear more like writing manuals than actual grading sheets, which i believe rubrics are.
I suppose then if she puts so much effort into creating her “rubrics” her students will know exactly what good writing is (to her) and what is expected of them. Not a bad thing really, but i wonder where does the opportunity to learn come in to the writing process for her students?
Wilson is more process approach so in turn is not a fan of rubrics, which she feels stifles creativity and originality. Wilson comes off to me as more of a writer than a writing teacher. She wants her students to write and write and write some more and not be so worried about fitting into conventions or covering standards that the will to write deeply is diminished.
So where Wilson is process oriented maybe that makes Spandel product oriented. Wilson is concerned with her students developing a joy and knack for writing and Spandel is concerned about how good the finished product is. I read someone say that Wilson’s approach will not help students when they get into the working world and have to turn in well-written pieces that fit into industry conventions. Her students won’t know to write those essays or reports because she didn’t teach them to write finished products.
I also think the debate is moot. Standards and standardization are here to stay and with standardization comes rubrics. The debate should refocus on how to write good rubrics and not whether to write them at all.