Rubrics and Gender – Josh and Andrew

08 Oct


There appears to be discrepancies between how male and female students react and respond to writing situations with explicit rubrics compared to situations that do not use rubrics


Female students tend to perform better than male students in writing situations with explicit rubrics.


Compare grades across courses where students are assigned to write on the same topic but one group is given a very explicit rubric and the other is not.

Also compare to male performance in similar situations.

Data Collection

Code for the specific criteria on the rubric

Interviews with instructors who graded the different assignments. Ask instructors who did not have a rubric what they were grading on. Compare criteria.


Female students will do better with a rubric than male students. Furthermore, they perform better overall, but generally better when they have a rubric,


What practices are responsible for inculcating students with these attitudes?


Posted by on October 8, 2013 in Uncategorized


4 responses to “Rubrics and Gender – Josh and Andrew

  1. amypiotrowski

    October 9, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    This is an interesting question. How might you account for possible gender differences in scoring? Is there anything in the research that suggests that female and male raters assess differently when using a rubric? You may also want to think about what type of rubric you want to use. Could a very detailed holistic rubric work, or would a detailed analytic rubric work better?

  2. DB

    October 14, 2013 at 8:09 pm

    Hey guys,
    So girls are more comfortable when a lot of structure is given and guys, what–resist it? Too prescribed? I’m with Amy: how do we account for this?
    I think that measuring performance according to grades can be problematic from a validity perspective. Even when (different) rubrics are given: are instructors measuring the same things?
    Nevertheless, I think this is an important question. It might help to limit this to one specific assignment (like in FYC)–where instructors have latitude about using rubrics, or not. It seems as if the clarity of the assignment description plays a role here.

  3. jeffnaftzinger

    October 15, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    Question: David already touched on this a little in his comment, but how are we sure that the instructors who aren’t using a rubric are looking for the same things as those who are using a rubric? If they’re not looking at the full essay, and are instead looking at something like grammar and grammar only, it could change the results of the study.

    Suggestion: To combat the possible problem above, could you provide the non-rubric using instructors with a rubric for the paper they grade, just not tell the students about it?

    Comment: I think this is an interesting hypothesis, and I would be curious to see if the hypothesis holds up, and why it happens.

  4. jacobwcraig

    October 20, 2013 at 1:26 am

    I’m in line with David and Jeff. But KY does have a study that suggests that girls benefit from frequent grading and assessment whereas guys are motivated by less material kinds of encouragement/response. So I do think that there is precedence for your study if you are thinking of the rubric as an assessment system. But your study feels like rubric as heuristic. Are you thinking of the rubric as a heuristic or as an assessment system?

    I think that Jeff and David make a good point. But I’m wondering, what kind of rubric?

    I’m interesting in the “why” that Jeff brings up, too. Why might a certain kind of rubric invite gendered responses? What do those responses look like? And what’s the reason for this phenomenon?


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