4C2021 “Inherited Rubrics and Graduate Instructor Agency in Classroom Assessment”

Session Information

On Demand Panel Session
O-69 Methods for Effective Assessment in Writing Programs
#4C2021 April 7th-10th 2021, Virtual Conference


While graduate student instructor preparation varies across institutions, some experiences are common to practicums. Often, first time instructors are given program or mentor prepared materials, such as syllabi, assignment sheets, and rubrics, in order to ease their transition into a teaching role. While these prepared materials take burden off the graduate students, they can also create problems in the classroom when the instructor uses those they have not had a hand in creating. Methods for constructing and using rubrics in the First-Year Writing (FYW) classroom have necessarily evolved to meet the needs of a changing FYW student population, and multiple methods are used in the field (see White 1984 “Holisticism,” Broad 2003 What We Really Value, Inoue 2012 “Grading Contracts”). While practicum instructors explain assessment practices to these new instructors, the minutiae of rubrics may slip through the cracks. For those instructors who are new to the field or adjacent to the field (literature or creative writing students assigned to FYW courses), terminology that is second nature to the mentor providing the materials may be unknown to the graduate student now tasked with using it to assess their students. This presentation highlights how this issue affects the relationship between students and GTAS in the classroom, and it will encourage audience discussion on methods for constructing these assessment materials with GTAs. Graduate student instructors should have a hand in creating the materials they are using to assess their students, even though handing them prepared materials may seem easier.

Session Materials

If you’d like to discuss this presentation, feel free to contact me on Twitter at @kshartel, or at hall554@purdue.edu. Thank you!