The four-one-one on fours


courtesy of Google under the Creative Commons License

Izzy Colón, writer

Lilly Schlarman walked into English class, her feet drag behind her as she walked, eyes barely open. Regardless of her early morning drowsiness she remembered the class will be starting a project. As she approached her desk, she noticed a yellow sheet of paper on top of it. As she got closer she began to see columns and numbers: another rubric.

“School is definitely more about getting a good grade than about learning anything,” Schlarman, freshmen, said.

She said usually school projects are given with specific instructions that tell you exactly what you need to do, often using rubric-style grading.

“Usually, I’ll just do the bare minimum to get a four,” Brandon Thomas, sophomore, said.

Thomas said he does not put his full effort into projects, and does not feel compelled to do his best as long as he gets the grade he wants. Rather than putting their effort into making their schoolwork the best it can be, Thomas and Schlarman said they focus on meeting the specific requirements listed on the rubric in order to get them “a four” or full points on that section of the rubric.

“Rubric-style grading restricts creativity because you just have to meet those requirements,” Schlarman said. “It’s not really encouraging further expansion,” 

Simao Drew, English teacher, said in a lot of classes there are rarely opportunities for students to learn without being graded in such a way that it transfers to their report card. He said rubrics make projects not as in-depth as they could be. Drew avoids grading his students in this way, but said that it is a comfortable way for a lot of students to learn.

Thomas and Schlarman said they would like to be given more creative freedom, because they would be more invested and interested in their projects, as opposed to half heartedly completing everything their teachers assign.