Exploring Students’ Perspectives toward Clarity and Familiarity of Writing Scoring Rubrics: The Case of Saudi EFL Students

  •  Dukhayel Aldukhayel    


The main aim of this research study is to investigate the clarity and familiarity of three scoring rubrics used in a Saudi university’s preparatory year program (PYP) for assessing students’ writing achievement in midterm and final exams. This exploration is important in providing some evidence for the quality of scoring rubrics. To achieve that purpose, a 13-item online questionnaire was used to collect Saudi EFL PYP students’ perspectives toward two quality criteria concerning rubrics; 1) clarity of the information included in the PYP rubrics, and (2) familiarity of the rubrics to students. The subjects were 281 Arabic-speaking male and female EFL Saudi students enrolled in three different academic levels in a Saudi university’s PYP. The results suggest that the quality of the PYP rubrics is insufficient and the criteria set for providing evidence for the rubric qualities were not met. The results show that students tend to have a mild agreement on the clarity of the PYP rubrics, whereas they show a clear disagreement on their familiarity with the rubrics and with why and how the rubrics are used. The study implicates that administrators and teachers need to carefully consider the clarity and familiarity of rubrics in order to justify the decisions made about students’ writing abilities. Rubrics that are unclear or unfamiliar can make students feel confused and frustrated, as they cannot get a clear sense of their writing scores, as well as their strengths and weaknesses.

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