Saturday, March 24, 2007

Rubics and Logic

I've been very suspicious of
rubrics and logic,
who may be first cousins.

Both are useful enough
when their powers are limited,
but neither gives us the truth.

We don't make
a lot of decisions
based on logic.

We are creatures
of subjective impressions
(is that redundant?).

We are drawn
to and from objects
for unknown reasons.

We conduct many (if not all)
facets of our lives
as if guided by a powerful spirit.

Our decisions are often
directed by a strong "intuition"
rather a large bag

of empirical evidence.
Rubrics are equally faulty
as a determinant of quality.

Yes, they make it easy
to give a low grade
on a student's paper

because the essay contained
four spelling errors,
included five grammatical errors,

lacked a topic sentence,
and more. But the rubric
didn't address whether

the author made the reader
"think and feel, and hopefully,
[took them] to a place

they hadn't been
(a definition of art from
one of the curators at MOMA).

Recently a teacher
gave a student a better grade
than their work deserved

because, even though
the student had fulfilled
the requirements of the rubric,

they had not understood
the content
of the course.