Learn About Rubrics
What Is A Rubric?
A rubric is set of rules or instructions attached to a task. The term ‘rubric’ comes from the fact that they were often printed in red. In student assessment a rubric lists the criteria for a piece of work, giving the characteristics and qualities needed to successfully complete the particular task or assignment.
For example, an essay rubric will outline a number of relevant criteria such as essay organisation and structure, knowledge of the content area, use of reference material, and the mechanics of spelling, and grammar.
A good rubric will describe the levels of quality for each of the criteria, usually on a point scale. Under mechanics, for example, the rubric might define the lowest level of performance as "More than ten grammatical, spelling and/or punctuation errors," and the highest level as "all words are spelt correctly; work shows understanding of subject-verb agreement, when to make words possessive, and how to use commas, semicolons and periods."
A useful rubric will provide:
- a description of what should be addressed in an assignment
- the expectations regarding the quality of the work, thus guiding students in preparing their assignment
- information for staff who will be assessing the assignment
- feedback to students on their performance.
Why Use a Rubric?
- Increase objectivity of marking process
- Clarify and demystify the marking process
- Explain more easily to students why they received the mark they did
- Assist students to improve their work and their marks
- Encourage students to become aware of and monitor their own levels of performance
- Minimise the number of questions regarding expectations for assignments, performance, and marks given.
How Can Rubrics be Used?
- Develop rubrics with students so they have an input into how the assignment will be assessed.
- Discuss rubrics with students so they understand how a rubric will be used to evaluate performance and determine marks.
- Provide rubrics as part of the syllabus at the beginning of the course and revisit and discuss them as each related assignment comes up, so that students have a clear understanding of what is required for the assignment.
- Give students a sample assignment and let them grade it using the rubric, to help them understand how to meet the criteria, and when criteria are being met.
Use rubrics to:
- Remove some of the subjectivity from marking.
- Standardise assessment across markers in a course.
- Ensure that all of the assessment or course objectives are being evaluated.
- Streamline the assessment and feedback process.
Download Rubric Templates
These rubrics are in the form of Microsoft Excel workbooks (spreadsheets). Choose the rubric which most closely matches the assignment you are going to assess. Note that the Generic Rubrics are recommended for use by experienced Excel users.
Generic Rubric with 5 ratings columns (F, P, CR, D, HD) download
Essay Rubric download
Research Report Rubric download
Lab Report Rubric download
Oral Presentation Rubric download
Online Participation (Blackboard) Rubric download
The CTL would be particularly interested in hearing from staff willing to trial the upgraded templates Semester 1 2012. If you would be willing to contribute to the development or would like to know more about the templates please contact Andrew Yardy on Ph 49218693 or email Andrew.Yardy@newcastle.edu.au.