What are rubrics?
Rubrics are scales in which the criteria used for grading or assessment are clearly spelled out along a continuum. Rubrics can be used to assess a wide range of assignments and activities in the classroom, from oral presentations to term papers to class participation. There are two main types:
Analytic Rubrics: Separate scales for each trait, or learning outcome, being assessed within the assignment (e.g., separate scales for “Argument,” “Organization,” “Use of Evidence,” etc.)
Holistic Rubrics: A single scale for the assignment considered as a whole. (e.g., one scale describing the characteristics of an “A” assignment, a “B” assignment, or a “C” assignment, etc.)
Why are rubrics useful?
Increasingly, rubrics are being used in college courses to improve the effectiveness and the efficiency of grading. By making our grading criteria more transparent, a well thought out rubric can both enhance student learning and save us time.
Rubrics enhance student learning by . . .
- anchoring grading to specific learning objectives, rather than more subjective, distracting considerations of rank or effort
- improving assignment design by clarifying desired learning outcomes
- contributing to fairness and consistency across sections
- reducing student anxiety about the subjectivity of grading
Rubrics help you save time by . . .
- narrowing the field of evaluation to desired learning outcomes
- facilitating constructive written comments
- reducing grade challenges
- reducing graders’ anxieties about grade inflation and the subjectivity of grading.