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.


Joan Digby’s passionate article about the role of rubrics in outcomes assessment is well-timed and pertinent to contemporary issues in honors education. In her piece, Digby argues that outcomes assessment and the rubrics that often accompany it stifle imagination, creativity, and outside-thebox thinking that all honors educators hope to foster in our students. “My goal,” Digby writes, “is not to score or measure students against preconceived expectations but to encourage the unexpected, the breakthrough response that is utterly new, different, and thus exciting.” Digby’s illustrations reveal her assumptions about assessment and rubrics today but the question is whether her assumption—that assessment and rubrics necessarily stifle the imagination essential to honors education—stands up to scrutiny. One can debate the merits of rubrics, but to argue that they stifle imagination or creativity is problematic.