Published In

Power and Education

Document Type


Publication Date



Universities and colleges -- Graduate work -- Evaluation, Academic achievement, College teaching -- Philosophical aspects, Educational tests and measurements


In this think piece, the author explores a conundrum and tension related to using rubrics to evaluate doctoral work. She ponders whether the use of rubrics provides beneficial ways for students to “crack the code” of academia, and/or whether the use of rubrics is perhaps a tool to engender conformity. With these competing ideas in mind, the author considers in what ways one might press for means to provide this on-ramp of access for students to the existing power structures, while at the same time seeking to change academia, to more equitably provide spaces for a range in ways of knowing, growing, expressing, framing, and presenting research. How might scholars support their students in engaging in what Rochelle Gutiérrez describes as simultaneously “playing the game” while also “changing the game?” Invoking challenges to existing power structures, such as those voiced in critical race theory and decolonizing epistemologies, this essay speaks to the tensions within the sacred spaces in academia which have been established by those with the greatest historical power.


This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Power and Education. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Power and Education, Vol.10, Issue 3 (November 2018) 10.1177/1757743818769428



Persistent Identifier