Using Rubrics


What is a rubric?

Rubric Design

The rubric exemplars featured in Part 3 have been developed in accordance with the following principles of rubric design:

  • Avoid using counts or pseudo-counts (i.e. some, many...)
  • Avoid using subjective terms to differentiate indicator levels (e.g. appropriate, suitable, adequate, poor, excellent...)
  • Each indicator should consist of only ONE recognisable central idea. If necessary, this idea can be elaborated on by including descriptions of what this might look like in student work
  • Do be aware of the assessment purpose: think about what skills/characteristics you want students to demonstrate and why. Ask if that is a reasonable expectation for students’ year level and academic experience
  • Do encourage academic development: Ask what skills a student should reasonably be expected to achieve? How could the naming of a criterion and descriptions of the indicator levels encourage a growth mindset?
  • Describe what should be demonstrated by the student at each level
  • Review your course guide. You are seeking evidence that students have met the course learning outcomes. Criteria should reflect your learning outcomes

As you create additional criteria, or adapt indicators to suit the needs of your task and your cohort level, it is important to maintain coherent design principles across all of your rubrics.

Rubric Bank: Exemplars

A selection of rubric criteria and their indicators appear in the tables below. You may view them as examples, or you may wish to incorporate some of these when building your own assessment rubrics. You may allocate a range of marks to each indicator level.

To incorporate, simply copy and paste any rows you wish to include in your rubrics.

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Using rubrics with your students

Using your rubrics during learning activities can help establish a shared vocabulary around assessment and academic expectations. Discussion can also address misconceptions and make assessment outcomes clear.

Some examples of rubric-based activities include:

  • Invite students to use your assessment rubric to evaluate sections of your course readings. Evaluating expert writing can help students understand how references are used, make judgments about whether or not arguments are supported, and increase awareness of academic writing styles.
  • Ask students to use your rubric to evaluate exemplars of assignments or examples of student work. This strategy is particularly useful for explaining how to structure academic writing and for encouraging writing with clarity.
  • Ask students to construct their own class rubrics for peer evaluations. This is a great strategy for presentations and group work. With your guidance, students can work together to identify the critical features of good performance and create relevant descriptors for a class rubric.
  • Have small groups jigsaw rubric pieces into a whole. This is an effective task for Education students if you ask them to consider differing frameworks or taxonomies as they (re)construct the rubrics.