Rubrics — a tool for unboxing evaluative reasoning

Judy Oakden presented a session about rubrics with Kinnect Group colleagues at the 2019 Australian Evaluation Conference.

Rubrics are an intuitive way of implementing the evaluation-specific methodology. Rubrics can help to unbox, demystify and democratise evaluative reasoning. In addition, rubrics help facilitate a clear, shared understanding of how quality, value and effectiveness are defined.

Kinnect Group members Judy Oakden, Julian King, Nan Wehipeihana, Kate McKegg, Adrian Field, and colleague Lou Were ran the panel session. We presented case examples of rubrics from different contexts. We illustrated how evaluative rubrics can support and aid:

  • explicit evaluative reasoning
  • stakeholder engagement and participation
  • innovation and adaptive strategy
  • evaluation validity
  • communication of results, and to support evaluation use.

After giving a brief introduction to rubrics, Nan and Kate discussed rubrics as a tool for supporting emergent strategy and innovation. They focused on a Developmental Evaluation example. They showed the flexibility of rubrics to support ongoing iterations and adaptations and to accommodate multiple stakeholder perspectives.

Julian and Judy described how they use rubrics to support the synthesis of evidence and sound evaluative reasoning. Their presentation also highlighted how rubrics could increase the credibility and validity of evaluation and the benefits of stakeholder participation.

Adrian and Lou demonstrated the use of rubrics in the communication of evaluation results. This presentation highlighted the ways rubrics are used in reporting and visualisation of findings to support use.