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Instructional Rubrics

Across the globe, myriad teaching methodologies and strategies have been conducted to address the students’ academic writing hurdles (Listyani, 2018). Many educators are now patronizing the holistic learning approach because of its advantages. Although it has numerous potentials, it can still be futile if the educators fail to start with an end in mind. Knowing that “a rubric is both an assessment and an evaluation tool” (Chan & Ho, 2019, p. 533), inculcating this type of formative assessment is vital to accurately measure the students’ learning outcomes and the teachers’ organizational skills. Therefore, to investigate which academic writing aspects are difficult for the students and how teachers can properly guide their students, the most relevant rubrics must be designed and be part of the teaching process.

Indeed, there are substantial studies on creating writing instructions (Graham, 2019), implementing coherence and cohesiveness (Karadeniz, 2017), and addressing plagiarism (Bensal et al., 2013), among others. However, there are a few studies on the teachers’ heroic acts of spending countless hours reading, correcting, and commenting on their students’ academic essays. Because marking students’ essays is a very tedious task, there are some teachers who would just write the score with few or no comments at all to get more things done. Hence, students experience a much bigger problem when they receive late feedback or grades without supporting explanations that can help them improve. It is conspicuous that both students and teachers are victims of circumstances. To remedy these predicaments, an action research that proposes the implementation of instructional rubrics (IRs) is vital.

IR has the potential to break the bad practices and to enhance the good practices in using rubrics. While IR can discourage teachers from using traditional or ready-made rubrics that are oftentimes not strongly aligned to their lessons, it can encourage self-directed learning because of the application of feedback and feedforward. IR can create an enriching scaffold which can reduce students’ anxiety, cultivate process-oriented students, and promote transparency. To materialize this action research, it is necessary to gather sufficient relevant qualitative and quantitative data on the utilization of rubrics with regard to repressing teachers’ and students’ academic freedom and fostering their academic integrity.

An action research on IR can also show the meaningful connection of formative assessment and effective pedagogy. It is imperative to investigate the production of well-designed rubrics and their proper implementation because the death of learning may root from the abuse and misuse of rubrics. If IR is done correctly, many academic writing problems (for both teaching and learning) will be resolved. Most importantly, this study can promote innovative teaching and promote independent learning.


Bensal, E. R., Miraflores, E. S., & Tan, N. C. C. (2013). Plagiarism: Shall we turn to Turnitin?. CALL-EJ, 14(2), 2-22.

Chan, Z. & Ho, S. (2019). Good and bad practices in rubrics: The perspectives of students and educators. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 44(4), 533-545. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02602938.2018.1522528?journalCode=caeh20

Graham, S. (2019). Changing how writing is taught. Review of Research in Education, 43(1), 277-303. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.3102/0091732X18821125

Karadeniz, A. (2017). Cohesion and coherence in written texts of students of Faculty of Education. Journal of Education and Training Studies, 5(2). https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1125748.pdf

Listyani. (2018). Promoting academic writing students’ skills through “Process Writing” strategy. Advances in Language and Literary Studies, 9 (4), 173-179. https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1190555.pdf

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