The Role of Rubrics in Learning and Implementation of Authentic Assessment: A Literature Review

Clara A. Nkhoma, Mathews Nkhoma, Susan Thomas, Nha Quoc Le
InSITE 2020  •  2020  •  pp. 237-276
Aim/Purpose: This study will review the existing literature on the advantages and challenges associated with rubric design and implementation. The role of rubric as an authentic assessment instrument will also be discussed.

Background: This study provides an overall understanding of ‘rubric design, the benefits and challenges of using rubrics, which will be useful for both practitioners and researchers alike.

Methodology: A comprehensive literature review was carried out on rubric, educational assessment, authentic assessment and other related topics.

Contribution: Different types of rubrics and essential elements to create a complete rubric for classroom effectiveness are reviewed from literature to aid researchers, students and teachers who are new to using and designing rubrics. For experienced rubric designers and users, this will be an opportunity for them to get reassurance from the literature regarding good practices of rubric usage. This project will also be of use to researchers working on rubrics.

Findings: A rubric is not only an assessment tool useful for students in high-stakes exam but also an educational instrument supporting learners to select appropriate learning approaches, assisting teachers to design effective instruction strategies, and improve reliability and validity of assessment.
Novice learners should begin with generic rubrics due to their simplicity. Meanwhile, a task-specific rubric is more useful to improve reliability and validity of large-scale assessment. Holistic rubrics are appropriate for assessment of learning and analytic rubrics are almost indispensable in student-centred classroom and assessment for learning.

Recommendations for Practitioners: A rubric as an authentic assessment instrument is useful to enhance the reliability of authentic assessment. Moreover, other empirical results indicate that rubrics play an importance role in authentic assessment regardless of levels or disciplines.

Recommendations for Researchers: Those carrying out research on rubrics, rubric design and authentic assessment will find this paper useful as a point of reference to inform their research.

Impact on Society: The findings apply to both learners and instructors in terms of analyzing best practices when using rubrics. The paper highlights that there are three main factors that determine the effectiveness of a rubric in improving students’ performance: namely, the users’ perception, the design, and the purpose of using rubrics. Rubric designing variables should also be optimized based on reliable data and information about the target educational context. Armed with this information, instructors will be in a better position to optimise the learning experience of their students.

Future Research: Systemic literature reviews with data analysis from both qualitative and quantitative findings should be carried out in the future to identify current trends and the role of rubrics in learning.
rubric, authentic assessment, rubric design, assessment method, scoring guide
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