Flexible Rubric for Anti-Racist Writing Assessment in the Undergraduate Classroom

Traditionally, writing courses place their emphasis on academic rigidity while privileging analytical writing, research skills, and documentation formats. However, students of color are explicitly and implicitly suggested to abandon the linguistic and cultural markers that they carry into the writing classroom. This inadvertent stigmatization of particular identities belies the high-education’s mission of empowering students. Most importantly, writing pedagogies that emphasize academic rigidity fail to empower students of color as agents of their own thoughts and writings.

The workshop reveals racially biased practice of using rubrics for writing assessment by analyzing more than fifty rubrics, offered by community colleges and Open Educational Resources (OER), through digital humanities tools. Alternatively, this workshop introduces the practice of “flexible rubric” that allows students to determine what aspect of their writings they consider most important. Based on my own experience of using “flexible rubric” in the writing classroom that consists mostly of students of color and underrepresented students, I show the discrepancy between the traditional way of evaluating writing skills and the student-oriented assessment. By doing these, I hope the workshop will facilitate productive discussion among participants. The workshop helps us think of how students can observe that their identity emerges, affects their written language, and shapes their thoughts in a writing process, which enables them to communicate something meaningful, not to “professors” but to “their own” audiences.

Workshop Leader

Jewon Woo
Jewon Woo is an associate professor of English at Lorain County Community College, Ohio.
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