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Rubrics do not equal Remediation, nor Response to Intervention

Nov 7, 2018 by

Michael F. Shaughnessy –

Well, it is about time, now that the elections are over- and perhaps we can get back to the real work of educating the students of this country. So, this is the beginning of a series of my ranks about everything that is wrong, at least from my perspective about education. Certainly, there are a lot of things that are right and a lot of teachers that are doing a dynamite job with students. But a closer examination and discussion of certain things is in order.

To wit- Rubrics are all well and good. They provide a global overall specific idea as to what constitutes an A, a B , a C, a D or what constitutes an F- and why.

Some rubrics are well done- and a lot of time is invested in them. However, they only go so far.

Rubrics tell students that they need help spelling or need to use Spell check or a Dictionary.  They do not provide the remediation or intervention.

Rubrics tell students that they need to work on grammar, syntax, spelling, sentence structure, dangling participles and verbs and gerunds and prepositions and adverbs. They do not provide editing or feedback or assistance in writing.

Rubrics tell students, directly or indirectly, that their writing is poor. They do not tell students where to do to ameliorate their writing skills.

Rubrics tell pupils, perhaps indirectly that they need to spend more time organizing their thoughts. Rubrics do not teach time management and organization skills.

Rubrics tell students that they may need to use commas, periods, question marks, exclamation points, and various other subtle nuances such as paragraphing.  Rubrics do not tell students where to put a comma, and when a comma is needed, and why we often use a comma in various long run on sentences, and the importance of the comma.   

Rubrics need to be linked to some type of intervention. Perhaps someone will provide this link or alignment. I am sure that someone will apply a rubric to my line of thinking- and if they do- please be sure to tell me where to do to remediate my thinking if it is illogical, irrational, unreasonable, unrealistic or inappropriate or even worse- if it is politically incorrect.

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  1. Michael F. Shaughnessy
    Michael F. Shaughnessy

    Thanks for your comment and I appreciate your feedback…I guess one of the MAIN points I was trying to make was that a rubric- does not necessarily lead to an intervention. A rubric- does not automatically mean that a child will learn to use the dictionary or Spell Check, for example to check their spelling- the rubric- will tell the student he or she has a problem with spelling or perhaps typographical errors- but it does not encourage the student to USE the dictionary or learn to word process if their handwriting is poor. Further, the rubric tells the student that their writing is poor- but does not tell them how to improve—many principals and educational leaders have jumped on this RUBRIC bandwagon- ( and it is a good tool for assessment and for evaluation) but the rubric only goes so far. It does not help English Language Learners, who are perhaps being penalized by the rubric thru no fault of their own- the RUBRIC is neutral- and the rubric does not understand that this student is from Mexico or Korea or Finland or wherever. Perhaps I need to make more clear that a good rubric MIGHT lead to an intervention or perhaps assist in a Response to Intervention program or simply to some suggestions to improve from a “D” to a “B” or whatever on that rubric. A rubric is not magic- and does not help the student to improve their critical thinking skills or higher order thinking skills. In any event, thank you for your comments as perhaps I needed to be more clear and exact and specific and precise in my assertions!

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    What you say is definitely true! However, as an educator, I have never heard anyone say that a rubric constituted an intervention, so I’m a bit puzzled by your concern about it….

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