By Zhetao Guo, Ph.D.

A rubric is an assessment tool that explicitly articulates the specific components and expectations for an assignment by listing criteria. When writing a rubric, it is important to include clear, concise descriptions of each criterion and level of performance. The criteria also need to align with assignment objectives.

Benefits of Using Rubrics

There are many benefits of rubrics for both instructors and students. Using rubrics establishes clear expectations for students, saves instructors time in grading, and aids in grading consistency among teaching assistants. It allows for quick and detailed feedback and provides data to refine teaching methods based on results. Rubrics also help students be better able to understand requirements and expectations, focus on required elements, see how assignments align with learning objectives, and improve their work based on the instructor’s feedback.

Types of Rubrics

There are three types of rubrics: analytic rubrics, holistic rubrics, and single-point rubrics.

Analytic rubrics assess individual criterion to show strengths and weaknesses and provide a clear rationale for scores and detailed feedback. They allow for faster grading and are useful for major assignments. However, students may not read the rubric if descriptions are too long or unclear. Here is an example of a sample analytic rubric template:

Criteria

Description

Description

Description

Description

Score

1

Description of beginning level of performance

Description reflecting movement toward mastery level of performance

Description reflecting achievement of mastery level of performance

Description reflecting highest level of performance

 

2

Description of beginning level of performance

Description reflecting movement toward mastery level of performance

Description reflecting achievement of mastery level of performance

Description reflecting highest level of performance

 

3

Description of beginning level of performance

Description reflecting movement toward mastery level of performance

Description reflecting achievement of mastery level of performance

Description reflecting highest level of performance

 

Holistic rubrics assess an item as a whole, rather than individually, which provide more general feedback to students. They are easier to create than analytic rubrics and may be used for final exam essay questions. Here is an example of a holistic rubric template:

Rating

Description

4

Demonstrates exceptional understanding of the material. All requirements are met and some are exceeded.

3

Demonstrates consistent understanding of the material. All requirements are met.

2

Demonstrates partial understanding of the material. Some requirements are met.

1

Demonstrates minimal understanding of the material. Few requirements are met.

0

No response; task was not attempted.

Single-point rubrics are similar to the analytic rubrics and include multiple criteria. This type of rubrics only provides descriptions of the highest level rather than descriptions for each level. They provide space for feedback on areas to improve as well as strengths. Here is an example of a single-point rubric template:

Concerns
Areas that need work

Criteria
Standards for mastery

Advanced
Areas that exceed standards

 

Criterion 1 and description of mastery

 

 

Criterion 2 and description of mastery

 

 

Criterion 3 and description of mastery

 

When to Use Rubrics

Rubrics are most often used to grade written assignments. They can also be used to grade group/team assignments, oral presentations, and self-assessments. Below are some ideas for when to use rubric types for different assignments:

Assignments

Holistic

Single-Point

Analytic

Written assignments

  • Quick peer review in non-writing courses
  • Quick feedback on rough drafts
  • Assigning points to essay questions on final exams
  • In-depth assessment of final product
  • In-depth peer review feedback

Group assignments

  • Overall reflection of group performance
  • Progress monitoring on a regular basis
  • Identifying strengths and weaknesses of group dynamics
  • Provide peer assessment of each group member’s performance
  • Quick, in-depth assessment of group assignment or product

Oral presentations

  • Overall feedback from peers
  • Feedback to students on topics or outlines prior to presentation
  • Assigning points to final presentation for a course
  • Identifying strengths and weaknesses in final presentation through comments
  • More detailed feedback on outlines or rough draft of oral presentation
  • Quick, in-depth assessment of oral presentation
  • In-depth peer review feedback

Self-assessments

  • Allowing students to reflect on their assignments or performance overall
  • Identifying strengths and weaknesses of assignments or performance in comparison to a standard of mastery
  • Quick, in-depth assessment of performance or product for each criterion

Building Rubrics in Canvas

Canvas allows instructors to add rubrics to assignments, quizzes, and graded discussions. Below are resources from Canvas that illustrate the rubric-building process. For additional help, contact UAB eLearning to schedule a one-on-one training session.

Additional Resources

Here are some additional resources that include rubric examples:

References