What is a rubric?
A rubric is a learning and assessment tool that articulates the expectations for assignments and performance tasks by listing criteria, and for each criteria, describing levels of quality from excellent to poor (Andrade, 2000; Arter & Chappuis, 2007; Stiggins, 2001). The clarity of rubrics is the most important characteristic for its comprehension and application (Al-Rabai, 2014). Rubrics contain four essential features (Stevens & Levi, 2012):
(1) a task description or a descriptive title of the task students are expected to produce or perform;
(2) a scale (and scoring) that describes the level of achievement (e.g., exceed expectation, meets expectation, doesn’t meet expectation);
(3) components/dimensions/criteria students are to attend to in completing the assignment/tasks (e.g., types of skills, knowledge, etc.); and
(4) description of the performance quality (performance descriptor) of the components/dimensions at each level of mastery.
How do rubrics benefit students?
- Clarify Expectations: Rubrics demystify grading by clearly stating a coherent set of criteria for performance (from excellent to poor) as well as detailed descriptions of each level of performance.
- Improve Learning: Students report rubrics help them with learning and achievement. Students can use rubrics to focus their efforts and self-assess their own work prior to submission.
- Encourage Feedback and Reflection: Rubrics provide students with specific feedback and allow students to reflect on their performance in order to improve.
How do rubrics benefit faculty?
- Save Time: Rubrics help faculty save time grading since uncertainty is reduced and the detailed descriptions for levels of achievement free the instructor from writing out long comments.
- Provide Consistency Among Multiple Graders: Large courses may use multiple graders (Co-instructors, Teaching Assistants, etc.). Creating and using a common rubric may help to ensure more consistency among graders.
- Reduce Bias: Rubrics help make grading more transparent and fair.
- Justify Grading: Rubrics document why faculty awarded certain grades. Grading history is maintained.
- Weigh Importance: Since some assignment criteria is more important than others, rubrics allow instructors to “weigh” the criteria in order of the importance of the objectives of the assignment.
Example Rubrics from the University of Connecticut:
- Example 1: Assignment Rubric for a Speech Language and Hearing Sciences course: SLHS-2204-assign_rubric (Alternative format *zip file may be imported to your course: Example SLHS Assignment Rubric
- Example 2: General Discussion Rubric from a Human Development and Family Studies course: HDFS-3252-Discussion Rubric (Alternative format *zip file may be imported to your course: Example HDFS Discussion Rubric
For more information visit:
- Best Practices: Assignment Rubrics article in the Blackboard Help site.
- Rubrics article and tutorial in the Blackboard Help site for technical details about building, importing, and exporting rubrics into your HuskyCT course.
- Weimer, M. (2013). Should you be using rubrics? Faculty Focus,
- Weimer, M. (September 9, 2015). Exploring the Advantages of Rubrics. Faculty Focus,
- Reddy, Y. M., and Andrade, H. (2010). A review of rubric use in higher education. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 35 (4), 435-448,
Berkeley University of California, Center for Teaching and Learning (Rubrics website). Retrieved June 23, 2015.
Andrade, H. G. 2000. Using rubrics to promote thinking and learning. Educational Leadership 57 (5): 13-18
Arter, J., and J. Chappuis. 2007. Creating and recognizing quality rubrics. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Merrill Prentice Hall.
Al-Rabai, A., 2014. Rubrics revisited. International Journal of Education and Research Vol. 2 No. 5 May 2014. Source URL: www.ijern.com
Stevens, D., & Levi, A. 2012. Introduction to rubrics: An assessment tool to save grading time, convey effective feedback, and promote student learning. Virginia: Stylus Publishing.