Rubrics vs. Informational Interviews


May 17, 2016

Rubrics vs. Informational Interviews

Was it last week? I think maybe it was. My husband called to me upstairs, where I was working in our home office. He was telling me that he thought he had left his watch in the pocket of his jeans, along with some coins. He reassured himself that I always emptied pants’ pockets before I washed them.

I was staring at my computer screen, which had at least six different windows open. I was trying to get a handle on the curriculum I was putting together for the courses I am slotted to teach for next semester.

This past semester was my first semester teaching college, which has been a lifelong dream of mine. I enjoyed teaching my college students tremendously. I knew I needed to make changes to the curriculum. The students had requested detailed rubrics for each major assignment, instead of a broad, general one for the entire course.

While I appreciate the students’ desire to have detailed rubrics, and I have indeed created them for this next semester, part of me rebels against the idea. In a working environment, there is no rubric. Working in corporate world for over two decades has taught me that rubrics are useful only when actually used how they were designed and not slanted to be interpreted however those in charge wish them to be.

Frankly, I think informational interviews are more useful than rubrics. I have seen rubric be twisted too many times to believe in their usefulness.

To know how to interview a client or manager successfully is a skill I think I need to include in my curriculum for this coming fall. A true informational interview is an interview in which you are able to elicit information regarding a project, or topic of choice, to determine your next action step.

Unfortunately for my husband, I had already taken the step of washing his jeans with his watch inside. I tend not to check the pockets of jeans when I realize that one of the children has no pants to wear the following day, and I throw whatever dark clothes are in the laundry pile hurriedly into the washer.

Informational interviews are only useful if done before a project is complete, and if the person doing the interviewing is paying attention, or you will most likely end up with something rather worse than a non-working watch.