Sunday, July 17, 2011

Resource Book Review: Rethinking Rubrics

Rethinking Rubrics in Writing AssessmentRethinking Rubrics in Writing Assessment by Maja Wilson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I came to know about Maja Wilson's Rethinking Rubrics during an exchange on the English Companion Ning. Wilson replied to some of my discussion topics about assessment and the use of portfolios. Her thoughtful and balanced replies made a lot of sense and I made myself a note to find her book and read it.

I'm heading into my 4th week of a summer workshop with the National Writing Project. My reading over the past few weeks has brought me back to the exchange I encountered with many teachers on the Ning. More specifically it brought me back to rubrics and grading--so much so, that it is now the subject of my inquiry project as I move forward into the upcoming school year.

I read Wilson's book this morning and again found that I appreciated her well-supported candor. Most interesting to me was Wilson's research into the history of assessment in our country. American colleges needed a ranking system for high school students, standard modes such as multiple-choice testing and rubrics were born out of that need.

Wilson questions if something like a rubric, which actually brought writing back into our schools, serves the purpose it promises. She explores what rubrics offer and what rubrics exclude and deny.

Read this book and you won't look at rubrics the same way again.

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