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Rubrics meeting quality assurance and improvement needs in the accreditation context

Judy R. Wilkerson (College of Education, Florida Gulf Coast University, Fort Myers, Florida, USA)

Quality Assurance in Education

ISSN: 0968-4883

Article publication date: 10 January 2020

Issue publication date: 4 February 2020



K-20 accreditation is contingent on having policies and procedures that provide evidence of quality assurance (QA) and quality improvement (QI), viewed here as the first of two conflicting paradigms, requiring concurrent expressions of excellence and need. Standardized summative assessments using the traditional tabular rubric design (typically writing assessments) serve the QA purpose well while leaving QI difficult to achieve. This is the second-related pair of conflicting paradigms – formative vs summative assessment. The purpose of this study is to illuminate these conflicts, present a sample illustrative solution and suggest that both institutions and accreditation agencies implement policies resolving these conflicts.


This viewpoint is based in part on an analysis of the content of many rubrics, with several selected for presentation herein. For K-12 settings, the AdvancED accreditation standards (used in 70 countries) and a multistate writing rubric are discussed. For postsecondary, a segment of the VALUE rubrics, used by a large number of postsecondary institutions across the USA, is presented. Examples of potential solutions for both levels are presented to clarify the problem and identify policy implications.


This specific aspect of the QA/QI challenge is a solvable problem, and a solution is proposed with the potential to improve learning in the USA and other countries.


Institutional personnel struggle with the conflicts often not realizing the source of their struggle. In this viewpoint, a new rubric format is suggested with the hope of initiating policy change discussions.



Wilkerson, J.R. (2020), "Rubrics meeting quality assurance and improvement needs in the accreditation context", Quality Assurance in Education, Vol. 28 No. 1, pp. 19-32.



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