Designing Rubrics

Need an evaluation sheet for an assignment? Why not read up on rubrics?

Rubrics are an evaluation chart that summarizes what you want to see in an assignment, and how many marks are allocated to different aspects of the assignment. They can be very useful tools when trying to assign a grade to a student’s project for a number of reasons.

  • Rubrics clarify expectations of the students for the assignment.
  • They lay out a consistent grading scheme.
  • They reduce time spent on grading by identifying precisely what you want to see in a paper, and laying out degrees of success with corresponding marks.
  • Rubrics only need to be made once, and then can be adjusted if you need to adapt them to a different assignment.
  • Rubrics give lots of feedback to the student and help them identify what areas need improvement.i

Creating an effective rubric can be tricky sometimes, but if you keep a few things in mind, you’ll be fine.

  • Keep the rubric short, no more than a page.
  • Make sure the rubrics grading criteria match the goals of the assignment you gave.ii
  • You can weigh some categories higher than others, but don’t make the scoring scheme too complicated or confusing.
  • Use three to six criteria to grade the assignments, such as writing quality, structure, critical thinking, creativity, focus, use of sources/quotes, etc. Give a detailed description of what constitutes execellent, acceptable, or poor for each category.iii
  • Think of specific things that you want or don’t want to see in the assignment and add them into the rubric.iv
  • Allow for part-marks in each category. Make sure that the highest level is an achievable goal. The different criteria should complement each other, but not overlap.
  • Don’t be afraid to change the rubric after its first use. After a test run with real assignments it’s normal to fiddle with the specifications on the rubric in accordance with what you observed when marking.v

Several sample rubric are available with this document, and you are encouraged to take a moment and look at it. Other resources for building rubrics are available at the Centre for Teaching and Learning, contact ctl@uaberta.ca

Sources

  1. Mertler, C. A. (2001) Designing scoring rubrics for your classroom. Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation, 7(25). Retrieved June 8, 2011 from http://PAREonline.net/getvn.asp?v=7&n=25.
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iMertler, 2001
iiMertler, 2001
iiiMertler, 2001
ivMertler, 2001
vMertler, 2001

Rubric Template

    Poor (D/F) 0-1   Acceptable (C) 2-3   Accomplished (B) 4   Exemplary (A) 5   Score
Stated Objective or Performance   Description of identifiable performance characteristics reflecting a beginning or poor level of performance.   Description of identifiable performance characteristics reflecting development and movement toward mastery of performance.   Description of identifiable performance characteristics reflecting mastery of performance.   Description of identifiable performance characteristics reflecting the highest level of performance.  
Example 1: Subject Content   Little or no knowledge of the subject matter is present.   The student demonstrates a basic understanding of the subject matter.   A thorough grasp of the subject matter is demonstrated.   A comprehensive grasp of the subject matter is demonstrated, including an in-depth understanding of issues, theories, and relevant concepts.    
Example 2: Critical Thinking   Information is presented inconsistently, and is not well thought out or sourced.   Accurate information incorporating relevant sources is descried.   The paper goes beyond description to analysis and some evaluation.   The paper goes beyond description to analysis and some evaluation.    
                Total:    

Basic design from: Mertler, C. A. (2001) Designing scoring rubrics for your classroom. Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation, 7(25). Retrieved June 8, 2011 from http://PAREonline.net/getvn.asp?v=7&n=25.

-Rebecca Schaeffer, June 2011