Rubrics for clinical evaluation: objectifying the subjective experience.

by Julie J Isaacson, Annette S Stacy
Nurse education in practice ()


Rubrics have historically been used in secondary and higher education to evaluate specific assignments or tasks. There is little mention of rubrics in the nursing literature, particularly in the area of clinical evaluation. A strong case can be made for expanding the traditional use of a rubric to include its validity with clinical evaluation. Clinical evaluation remains a challenge, even for seasoned faculty. Faculty and students often interpret clinical course objectives differently. Coupled with this concern is the subjectivity of the evaluation. The use of "novice" clinical faculty, who inevitably struggle with discerning and justifying anything but stellar student performance, further compounds these issues. Rubrics also facilitate the grading experience for faculty and students. Faculty often find themselves making repetitive written comments to students. These comments can be incorporated into the rubric, thus shortening grading time while increasing the quality and quantity of instructor feedback. When clarified in a rubric, course objectives become "real". Student benefits include increased critical thinking and a more realistic approach to self-evaluation. Clinical rubrics can be developed from existing course objectives. Though perhaps tedious in initial development, both faculty and student satisfaction with the clinical evaluation process can be enhanced with the use of rubrics.

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