Using Rubrics

Decorative: Two anthropomorphic rubrics, one labelled "Analytic" and the other "Holistic," boxing in a boxing ring before an audience made up of unlabelled anthropomorphic rubrics


"Using Rubrics" (web page) answers the following questions:

1. What is a rubric?

  • "[A] type of scoring guide that assesses and articulates specific components and expectations for an assignment" 

2. What can rubrics be used for?

  • Other assignments (specifically, marketing proposal, presentation report, research proposal in chemistry, teamwork, critical reading and analysis, research paper in history, argument paper in 1st year composition)

3. Why use rubrics?

a. "Rubrics help instructors." 

  • "Assess assignments consistently from student-to-student."
  • "Save time in grading, both short-term and long-term." 
  • "Give timely, effective feedback and promote student learning in a sustainable way." 
  • "Clarify expectations and components of an assignment for both students and course teaching assistants (TAs)." 
  • "Refine teaching methods by evaluating rubric results." 

b. "Rubrics help students."

  • "Understand expectations and components of an assignment." 
  • "Become more aware of their learning process and progress." 
  • "Improve work through timely and detailed feedback." 

4. How can you develop a rubric?

a. Considerations for Using Rubrics

"Although it takes time to build a rubric, time will be saved in the long run as grading and providing feedback [formative or summative] on student work will become more streamlined." 

  • "A rubric can be a fillable pdf that can easily be emailed to students." 

b. Getting Started with Rubrics

  • "Start small by creating one rubric for one assignment in a semester." 
  • "Ask colleagues if they have developed rubrics for similar assignments or adapt rubrics that are available online." (See "Online rubric resources" below.)
  • "Examine an assignment for your course. Outline the elements or critical attributes to be evaluated (these attributes must be objectively measurable)." 
  • "Create an evaluative range for performance quality under each element: for instance, 'excellent,' 'good,' 'unsatisfactory.' Add descriptors that qualify each level of performance."
  • "Avoid using subjective or vague criteria such as 'interesting' or 'creative.' Instead, outline objective indicators that would fall under these categories. The criteria must clearly differentiate one performance level from another." 
  • "Assign a numerical scale to each level." 
  • "Give a draft of the rubric to your colleagues and/or TAs for feedback." 
  • "Train students to use your rubric and solicit feedback. This will help you judge whether the rubric is clear to them and will identify any weaknesses."
  • "Rework the rubric based on the feedback." 

5. Sample Online Rubric Resources

  • iRubric (Rcampus) - "a comprehensive rubric development, assessment, and sharing tool .... free to individual faculty and students."
  • Artwork Assessment Form, Art rubric for assessment of the discussion & writing on art history, aesthetics, and art Criticism - an assessment form
  • Rubrics for Assessment,Rubrics for discussions, teamwork, group work, research processes/reports, PowerPoints, podcasts, oral presentations, web pages, ePortfolios, graphic organizers, videos, multimedia, games, simulations, social media (wiki, blog, Twitter), critical thinking, reflection, summary, webquests, writing, math, science, etc.
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