Checklists and Rubrics: Do They Really Promote Learning?
Discussions regarding benefits of and concerns about checklists and rubrics are not novel. But most papers highlight their positive effect on students’ learning. This paper challenges this view: it looks at students’ perception of instructional and scoring checklists and rubrics which is leaning more towards rejecting them. The paper relies on a survey of third-year students about the English course in Research skills (47 respondents majoring in one of the following: World Economics, International Relations or Oriental Studies). The author outlines the main problems that students identified concerning checklists and rubrics and offers possible reasons for students’ mostly negative attitude to them (proving which of these cause that reaction is the next step in the research). The author’s speculations are partly confirmed by students’ comments to open-ended questions: unwillingness to comply with the criteria as they stifle creativity in writing essays, a too ‘mechanistic’ and impersonal way of assessment, too many criteria for one activity, too much of scoring with the help of checklists and rubrics. The paper also covers possible solutions to the problems, one of which has already been implemented with a mixed result: incorporating in the checklists and rubrics students’ suggestions and/or improvements relying on students’ comments that are fit suitable.