Dance, Ten; Looks, Three: Why Rubrics Matter

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Despite its status as an often-deliberated topic, the use of rubrics in writing assessment continues to be a source of careful and innovative research. This special issue of Assessing Writing features research from various contexts, exploring the significance and functions of rubrics used in writing assessment both in large-scale settings and in the classroom, approaches to rubric development and revision, and uses by different audiences and for different purposes. Generally, a rubric—referred to in some contexts as a rating scale or scoring guide—is defined as a guide listing specific criteria for grading or scoring academic papers, projects, or tests, and an instrument that describes a specific level of performance within a scale. Teachers concern themselves with many issues when it comes to grading. Several ofthem include whatto weigh in making judgments, equity and fairness while assessing, and comparability of evaluation, that is, will one teacher’s appraisal of a student’s work match another’s appraisal (Crusan, 2010; Weigle, 2007).



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