Scholarship: Critical Communication Pedagogy and Rubrics

The first article co-authored by the Critical Communication Pedagogy Research Team, facilitated by the Oral Communication Program in UMD’s Department of Communication, was just published in Communication Teacher.

Ashby-King, Drew, Victoria Ledford, Jeannette Iannacone, Alyson Farzad-Phillips, Matthew Salzano and Lindsey Anderson. 2021. “Expanding and constraining critical communication pedagogy in the introductory communication course: A critique of assessment rubrics.” Communication Teacher.

Rubrics are a commonly used tool to evaluate student work in the introductory communication course. Although rubrics may appear objective, they are continually interpreted by both instructors and students, often reflecting traditional classroom power dynamics. In order to understand how rubrics constrain as well as expand opportunities for the enactment of critical communication pedagogy, we conducted an interpretive analysis of the presentational speaking rubrics used in the introductory communication course at 20 institutions in the United States. In doing so, we identified three levels of rubric context: high, low, and shared. These contexts inform important theoretical and pedagogical implications for the introductory course, as they highlight existing power dynamics, instructor grading practices, and student agency.

This essay was written with colleagues spanning all three tracks in UMD COMM: Rhetoric (Farzad-Phillips and Salzano), PR (Ashby-King and Iannacone), and Communication Science (Ledford).

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