I think it is Gordon who talks about two types of grades:
Two types of grades: idiographic (S's work relative to his/her own potential, i.e. music aptitudes); and normative (S's work relative to his/her peers).
Is it more likely to use rubrics with one and not the other? Which type is harder to "justify"?
In my experience it is very rare where a student is inspired by improving their grade or rubric score. It is almost always compliance (I improve my grade because I am supposed to). I STRUGGLE with this. I almost never know what it means if someone says "I got an A in ___________". Does this mean they remembered their instrument every day? They can think creatively? Knows all their major scales?
I also think you can provide clear expectations with out using a rubric.
I also almost always allow students to choose/defend their grades. If a student has a C and wants an A we can discuss it. If the student makes a great case--its an A. Some people think thats crazy because of the tyranny of the gradebook.
I do like using rubrics for data type events or performances (sight-reading for example). Activities where entries like "2-3 Note Errors" make sense.
Is it also possible rubrics might work pretty well in elementary classes where tasks/standards are smaller? Perhaps. Is it possible in high performing or creative classes rubrics might be less used? Certainly.
It is so very important we figure this out and we are consistent.