Rubrics are assessment tools used for evaluating student performance.
A rubric is a set of criteria that includes descriptions of levels of performance quality for each criterion. Grading is therefore constrained to the specific areas the faculty deems important, and the descriptive performance levels help improve objectivity.
Parts of a rubric include:
When grading an assignment, the rater goes through each criterion and determines which performance level was achieved. These scores are then added together to create an overall performance score.
Written feedback can also be given to the student to explain why the assignment fell within the indicated performance level.
Benefits for faculty
Benefits for students
Rubrics are useful when determining a grade is subjective or assignments are open-ended. Rubric use is especially beneficial when:
Before creating a rubric, make sure you have clearly aligned your assignment with your course learning outcomes. (see Learning Outcomes) You should then determine what you will evaluate in their performance. Depending on your assignment and learning outcomes, you can assess multiple goals in one rubric.
For example, if your learning outcome consists of writing a research paper, your criteria may consist of context, content, evidence, thesis statement and organization.
The highest criteria for each section should relate to mastering or exceeding your learning goals. As values decrease, determine what students would be able to do at each level. Ensure that each component is objective and gaps are not present. It may also be beneficial to work collaboratively with colleagues when creating rubrics in order to ensure all important criteria are represented and to determine what different performance levels will include.
After the assessment is given, reflect on student performance and evaluate the validity of your rubric. You can then make changes or adaptations as needed.
The Rubrics Workbook provides guidance on how to construct and use a rubric for the successful evaluation of higher order thinking skills from more subjective types of assessments.
The following are different types of rubrics you may consider using depending on the type of assignment or situation.
Includes explicit descriptions of criteria required to meet the level of quality present for each dimension. Use when you want to see relative strengths and weaknesses, give detailed feedback or quantitatively assess knowledge, attitudes or skills.
Used when assessing a performance or attribute as well as for grading assignments quickly. Holistic rubrics don’t necessarily provide in depth feedback to students.
Used to identify whether or not criteria are present. For example, a student receives a point value of 1 for each component that is presented and a 0 for each one that is missing. A total score is then calculated. You can also allot more than one point or partial credit for each component.