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Response to the Twitter Rubric

Page history last edited by LCI, Ltd. 12 years, 5 months ago

A professor of mine told me, that when doing research, I'd know I'd found the core studies when the same author or study kept re-appearing. That once I'd seen the same name enough to remember the correct spelling, I had my end/start point. If the rule held true for things on Twitter, the Twitter rubric would be the alpha and omega rubric. 


This is the Twitter rubric that has been bandied about on Twitter lately. (Please note: I am linking to it with permission from the author, Karen Franker. Original at: http://www2.uwstout.edu/content/profdev/rubrics/Twitter_Rubric.html) There have been numerous responses to the rubric and in some cases, it's been used to critique rubrics in general. There are items in this rubric that have frustrated some Twitter users and seem to defy what rubrics are supposed to do. On the other hand, some users look at it and see it as the answer to all of their problems when it comes to assessing Twitter use. While not necessarily a bad rubric (I don't think there is such a thing - I prefer to think of them as "draft rubrics"), it is lacking many of the attributes of quality rubrics. At their heart, rubrics are about capturing quality and the Twitter rubric contains a number of attributes that can counted. Rarely is quality defined by quantity. Outside of professional sports, we rarely define something as good by using numbers as our frame of reference. Likewise, it's rarely the fifth, rather than the fourth, spelling error that turns you off a student's writing.


Therefore, I'd like to propose that the Twitter rubric is actually a scoring criteria chart. It's a helpful document to support someone assess a learner's use of Twitter. It is not a document to help someone become a better Twitter user.  For another way to think about the difference between checklists/scoring charts and rubrics, consider the following.


If the document for your students answers the questions:

  • What do I need to do to pass?
  • What do I need to do to get an A?
  • What do I need to do to make you happy?
  • What will you be counting as you read my work? 
  • What are the minimum components I need to make sure I have?
  • Are you looking for a particular response? Approach? One right answer? 

your document is a most likely a checklist or a scoring chart. Even if it's presented in a table format.


If the document helps student answer questions such as:

  • What does quality look like for this task or process?
  • What does "better" look like so I can I revise my work without waiting for your feedback?
  • What does it look like when a beginner does this type of project or task? A master?
  • What does it look like to break the rules for this type of work? How will I know if I'm "breaking the rules" or doing it wrong? 

your document is a rubric. However, rubrics rarely stand alone. They are often accompanied by anchors or exemplars to show students what quality looks like at the different levels. 


It's difficult to know which questions the author was seeking to answer without asking her directly, but until that opportunity presents itself, here's an imaginary conversation between the author of the rubric and I.


Me: Morning! Hope you're all stocked up for the pending storm. *small talk* So - I saw your Twitter rubric. As I was reading, I was curious about your goals for creating it. What did you want to get out of sharing this with students?


Author: Actually I wrote it for other professors. I know they're requiring students use to Twitter and we didn't have a way to evaluate a students' Twitter use.


Me: It sounds like you're interested in assessing their communication skills.


Author: Nah. I just wanted a tool to evaluate how well students are using Twitter.


Me: Tell me more about "well". What does that mean?


Author: That they're using the tool the way it's suppose to be used. The right way.


Me: I'm struggling a bit with the mechanics line. @ladygaga, who has more followers than Norway has people, often combines words or drops vowels in order to fit within the 140 character limitation. Your document presents the hurdle to the user that they're held to a different standard than prolific Twitter users.


Author: Well, she's a pop singer. This rubric is for students.


End scene as we adjourn to a wine bar to discuss the concept of the "real world" versus "school" until the wee hours of the night. Had our imaginary conversation gone in another direction, we might end up discussing other big ideas that are behind her document. Rather than a "Twitter rubric", perhaps developing a rubric around the following might make better sense:

  • Articulating degrees of quality in a succinct response to someone who said something you didn't like
  • Articulating degrees of quality in sharing the work of others in way that attributes the source with respect to the medium
  • Articulating degrees of quality in a provocative statement or question designed to start a conversation (That's a rubric I could have used at a cocktail party last weekend.)


You've probably noticed the lack of a Twitter rubric on this page. That's because I'm not sure that Twitter deserves a rubric. I am comfortable saying that a paragraph about Black History Month (read only by the teacher) or a Moon PowerPoint created for Science class (seen only by the teacher) don't deserve rubrics. Rubrics are tools to help students self-reflect and understand quality in process activities, projects, and performances that occur outside of school and require effort and revision. If you have explicit, quantifiable details you want students to attend to in their project - great. Develop a checklist or scoring chart. If there are quality issues you want the students to attend to - fantastic. Develop a rubric (ideally with the students) and provide them anchors and exemplars to show them what you mean. If you want them them to attend to both (i.e. write a well-developed response citing at least three sources) - lovely. Develop a checklist for the "must-haves" and a rubric for the quality components and provide both to the students.


Questions? Thoughts? Concerns? Feel free to post below or contact me on Twitter (@datadiva) or via email



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