Developing and Using Rubrics


A rubric is a scoring or assessment tool that includes criteria for an assignment and a description of characteristics expected for several levels of possible performance. Quality of a rubric as an evaluation and feedback tool depends on the purpose of the assessment. Rubrics promote a more thorough understanding of the criteria used to evaluate student work and improve consistency and efficacy of assessment.

Rubrics can be used to assess writing, research reports, performances, portfolios, and problem solving, among others.

Points or numerical weights for each sub-skill or criterion can be added within a rubric for grading purposes. Numerical values, however, do not provide students with an indication as to how to improve their performance. A student who receives 20 out of 50 points will not know how to improve writing on the next assignment. This is precisely why a description for each level of possible performance is invaluable to students.

This page contains links to articles/resources regarding generation of rubrics for use with college-level writing.

The information may be useful as you design future writing assignments, consider ways to more efficiently evaluate writing, and explore mechanisms to provide meaningful feedback to students.

Factors to Consider When Assessing Writing--Some Articles and Resources on Assessment and Rubrics

Criteria for Generating an Appropriate and Useful Rubric for Assessing Writing

Skidmore College, Writing in the Majors Initiative. Retrieved February 13, 2010 from

  1. “Determine the characteristics of the task that you are assessing;
  2. Describe what the best example of this characteristic looks like;
  3. Describe the worst acceptable example of this characteristic;
  4. Determine what would be unacceptable;
  5. You now have three levels of assessment: you can develop other levels in between
    those three if you think that will give you meaningful information;
  6. Test the rubric on some student work to determine whether it works;
  7. If they were not involved in developing the rubric, teach the team of faculty
    evaluating the student work how to use the rubric;
  8. Ideally, each example of student work should be evaluated by more than one faculty member;
  9. When the team is using the rubric, one person ought to serve as a moderator,
    reviewing the scores of different evaluators on the same student work to determine
    whether there are great discrepancies;
  10. If two faculty differ substantially on the scoring of one student’s work, give the work
    to a third faculty member to evaluate as a third judgment;
  11. Compile all scores for each characteristic that you are evaluating to summarize the
    results (Note: if each evaluator keeps notes on the greatest weaknesses, you can use those
    to help understand the overall scores).
  12. Analyze those areas that appear to reflect weaknesses in student abilities.”

Visit this link if you are interested in reviewing some Rubrics by division/discipline.