Thank you for this! I agree with you that "the main reason to abandon rubrics is because they make education less human." I teach philosophy and that means grading students' writing. Over the years I've had to make numerous circumlocutions around well-meaning dictates from my school to create rubrics under which student writing must be subsumed. I’ve always rejected rubrics because it means grading against a vague hierarchy of “inadequate – adequate – good – better” rather than grading what the student actually wrote and meant. Like you observe, it strengthens the problem of “we compromise the ability to act as guides for our students; instead, we are authority figures, dispensers of points and grades.” I want to mentor and guide students in developing their thinking not pigeon-hole them against a rubric. I want to converse with students as thinkers not reduce them to factory workers and me to some sort of quality control arbiter.

Philosophy professor reaching out beyond the ivory tower. elmhurst.academia.edu/DouglasGiles. I also run WorldFusionRadio.com and InsertPhilosophyHere.com.

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