9 things about assessment rubrics

March 10, 2016       The NonProfit Times      

When nonprofit manager examine the organization, they need to know how to look. In his book “The Social Profit Handbook,” David Grant offers advice about rubrics to utilize when putting an assessment initiative in place.

* Don’t write rubrics alone. It is tempting to write a rubric alone, but bringing others into its creation gives them a chance to “own” it. Remember that part of the purpose of the rubric is to provide a format and process for working things out.

* Write DRAFT at the top. This single word signals an atmosphere of ongoing learning and reminds people that the rubric is holding a conversation that will be returned to.

* Allow one rubric to lead another. Rubrics have a habit of guiding people to what they most need to talk about.

* Don’t forget about indicators and other ways to personalize. Include indicators that invoke personalities and well-known events and stories unique to the organization.

* Don’t feel a need for a whole rubric every time. Some rubrics need to be fleshed out along the whole spectrum of performance.

* Take the rubric out for a test drive. It’s possible to learn a lot about a rubric by trying it out.

* Once you get the hang of it, invite others in. Better performance can come from an inclusive process.

* Don’t forget about mission time. Make time for this work.

* Learn from other organizations. It is useful to see how other organizations adapt accepted practice to fit their own cultures and circumstances

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