Developing and Using Rubrics: Analytic or holistic?

Article appearing in Shiken 21.2 (December 2017) pp. 20-26.

Author: James Dean Brown
University of Hawaii at Manoa

A big question in many Asian countries right now is how to make good quality rubrics for assessing oral and written English. Could you give me some tips on how to do that?

This is the first of two columns that I will use to answer your question. In this one, I will talk about the different types of rubrics that can be used for either oral or written language output. In the next column, I will describe the steps you might take in developing a rubric, how you can decide on the categories you want to rate, and how you can approach writing the descriptors inside the cells of the rubric. In this column, I will address five central questions:

  1. What is a rubric in language assessment?
  2. What are analytic rubrics?
  3. What are holistic rubrics?
  4. What are the primary differences between analytic and holistic rubrics?
  5. Where can I get more information on rubrics?

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