National Collegiate Honors Council


Date of this Version



Published in Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council, Fall/Winter 2014, Volume 15, Number 2.


Copyright © 2014 by the National Collegiate Honors Council.


I read Joan Digby’s essay with interest and found in it concerns I have heard expressed elsewhere. I agree with her that the role of college faculty is to help students “engage deeply in ‘critical thinking.’” As someone who has spent twenty years teaching literature and writing, I nodded in agreement when she stated, “My field is literature—that is, thought and sensibility expressed in words. My field encourages the subjective, anecdotal, oddly shaped experiences that constitute creative writing.” Where I veered away from agreement was her assumption that using rubrics is antithetical to encouraging critical thinking or to the creative expression of these subjective, anecdotal, oddly shaped experiences. I also disagree that using rubrics is merely a means to “measure students against preconceived expectations.” In fact, I would argue that creating task-specific rubrics with students does exactly the opposite.