Tuesday, August 16, 2016


What are Rubrics?

A rubric is a scoring tool that explicitly represents the performance expectations for an assignment or piece of work. A rubric divides the assigned work into component parts and provides clear descriptions of the characteristics of the work associated with each component, at varying levels of mastery. Rubrics can be used for a wide array of assignments: papers, projects, oral presentations, artistic performances, group projects, etc. Rubrics can be used as scoring or grading guides, to provide formative feedback to support and guide ongoing learning efforts, or both.

Have you used a rubric for an assignment in the past? Many faculty have said that rubrics are not only a real time saver, but they provide guidance on grading fairly. If you have a stack of 30 exams or papers to grade, it can be very tiring! Your eyes might begin to blur after about 20 - and grading fairly AND consistently is important in your classes! Rubrics are very easy to set up in Canvas, too. You can always ask your Instructional Designer to help you get started. And, in Canvas, once you create a rubric template you will be able to re-use it! Here's an example of a rubric.

A Google search will provide many, many examples of rubrics.  Here's a good way to start: choose one assignment to start and think about how you have graded it in the past.  Can you remember what an A+ paper looks like? How about a B? And so on. Then look at a sample rubric in your discipline. Remember, you can always ask a department colleague if they would share an example! Think about what kind of writing, computation, or behavior you want to see in this assignment. Also think about what an acceptable answer is, and then assign some points to each of those levels. A description explaining how a student earns those points will help students understand their grade. It's important to give students the rubric along with the assignment so they know what the expectations are.

And when students have the rubric with clearly outlined expectations you will get fewer questions like, "Why did I only get a C on this assignment?" For that reason alone, rubrics are a good idea!

Remember to check in with a mentor or your faculty development person or the Instructional Designer on your campus for ore information about creating and using a rubric!


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