New e-book on evaluative rubrics

Judy Oakden wrote this e-book for practitioners and those wanting to use evaluative rubrics. In her mentoring work, she observed that sometimes certain types of rubrics are not well suited for some kinds of evaluation. In these instances, evaluators could get ‘stuck’.

Does this sound like you?

We spent weeks writing up the descriptions for ratings categories. Soon the rubrics became bigger than Ben Hur, taking up pages and pages of tables filled with minuscule writing…For us, the proverbial ‘straw that broke the camel’s back’ came with the feedback from team members: no-one could agree on what constituted a ‘poor’, ‘adequate’, ‘good’, and ‘excellent’ [description].” (Stone-Jovicich, 2015, p. 4).

For some time, it has been known that there are several different ways rubrics can be constructed (Davidson, 2005). Judy’s ‘ah-ha’ moment grappling with the different kinds, was to conceptualise rubrics as having three basic components:

  • key aspects of performance
  • levels of performance
  • importance of each aspect of performance.

This e-book Judy explores some alternative ways the components can be combined to produce three types of evaluative rubrics for different settings. For each of the three types of rubrics the benefits and challenges of each approach are outlined.

In summary:

  • "There are several different types of rubrics. If you use the right kind for a project they can be really helpful. But just like with builders’ tools - if you choose a kind that is not ‘fit for function’ it may not work so well.
  • To choose the right kind of rubric for your evaluation consider the three components of a rubric and how you combine them. There is no ONE right way, so experiment.
  • Working with rubrics can be challenging – it is best to develop them with a diverse range of stakeholders, or other team members. Especially when starting out, work in a team.
  • Making evaluative judgements using rubrics is a powerful way to share the emerging findings with the evaluation client and with stakeholders” (Oakden, 2018, p.15).

So remember – there is no one ‘good’ type of rubric – different types of rubrics are good for different evaluation contexts. In this ebook Judy shows some alternative ways she has combined the components in her own practice.

Click here to view the e-book: Oakden, J. 2018 Understanding the components of evaluative rubrics and how to combine them.

Note: Judy expects her thinking about rubrics will evolve further over time. For now, this e-book is based on the types of rubrics she has used in her evaluation practice