James Harvey
Unpacking Rubrics

The use of a rubric has become standard practice in language proficiency assessment. This has many benefits for the learner, the educator and the assessor in terms of reliability, validity and practicality.

However, using the rubric can present challenges to all stakeholders involved. One of the most significant challenges can be the differing interpretation of the rubric by the learner, teacher and assessor. This can lead to inconsistency in assessment and in teaching.

This presentation will describe our research and results into the investigation of the exact meaning of key descriptors in the current rubric used at RMIT English Worldwide (REW language center) for proficient learners (advanced and above). We shall detail the results of a series of lessons whose aim was to better inform the learner as to the requirements of various written and spoken tasks, help the teacher to familiarize themselves with the rubric prior to its use in assessment and to ensure consistency in results.

These results will be in the form of both quantitative and qualitative data gathered from learner and staff at REW over a period of three to six months.

We shall also discuss ongoing professional development at REW with regards to the use of these rubrics and discuss the results we have gathered in terms of enhancing the experience of the learner, teacher and assessor.

I am a language educator with REW and have over twenty years experience in teaching.

I have worked both here in Australia and in Europe and have been with REW for over seven years. Previously I worked for International House and the British Council. I have many interests in the field of teaching but particularly in relation to assessment and preparation for assessment.