Assessing a Rubric: Evaluating a Rubric's Ability to Provide Functional Data to Critique Curriculum and Improve Instruction
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This study was a response to the mandates of Public Law 107-110, commonly known as The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, and its emphasis on the use of assessments to monitor student achievement, critique curriculum, and improve instruction. The study "assessed" the current rubric used to score a standardized district-wide student writing assessment in a Northeastern Wisconsin school district. Ten communication arts teachers from three high schools became participants. They were given an anonymous student writing sample, the current rubric in use by the district of the study, and a revised, pilot rubric. They were asked to assess the student writing sample using both rubrics and then respond to survey questions regarding the assessment process and each rubric's ability to provide functional data to critique curriculum and improve instruction. Survey data from Likert Scale questions and participant responses to open-ended questions revealed they agreed that the use of assessment data to evaluate their teaching techniques is important. Echoing the existing literature, they also reported the most significant obstacle to accomplishing this task is lack of time. Participants also supported the pilot rubric over the current rubric in regard to its ability to provide more functional data for the purpose of critiquing curriculum and improving instruction.