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What is a Rubric

About Rubrics

A rubric is a criterion referenced assessment tool used to score assignments or performances. Work is scored/graded based on how well the finished product lines up with the criteria listed on the rubric. A rubric is a very powerful device for performance-based assessments, such as oral presentations or projects, but also makes grading essay questions and narratives quick and easy.

Intoduction to Analytic Rubrics

For many of us, we think of analytic rubrics when we hear the word “rubric.” Analytic rubrics list the criteria for an assignment and describe these criteria in varying levels of quality. Most often an analytic rubric is in a grid or table format. The criteria are listed along one side and the performance ratings along the adjacent side.

In the simple example below, the criteria are “Factual Information,” “Use of a Visual,” and “Speaking for a Presentation.” The performance ratings can be either numerical, descriptive, or both. This rubric divides quality of performance into three parts: 3 - Excellent, 2 - Satisfactory, and 1 - Needs Work, but other rubrics can be more complex. Each criterion needs to be described for each of these performance ratings.

Creating your own Rubric

Create a rubric to fit your needs. Check out our Tips to Writing a Strong Rubric to write your own fantastic rubrics for your assignments!

A rubric can help eliminate bias in the scoring procedure. While there is always some subjectivity to grading, rubrics lay out specific criteria to be assessed in a very straight-forward manner. Rubrics can improve teacher accuracy because assignments are not compared to other students’ performances or to a student’s own previous performance. Multiple evaluators should get the same or similar scores when using the same rubric for the same assignment. Scorers for high stakes testing use rubrics to guide their evaluations consistently and fairly.

Rubric Assessment Ideas

Rubrics can be used to assess many, many different assignments or activities. Here are only a few ideas:

Performance Written Other
  • Projects
  • Oral Presentations
  • Group Project/Performance
  • Performance Review or Progress Report
  • Artistic Products or Performances (Drawing, Painting, Dance, Theatre, Music)
  • Open Responses
  • Long Compositions (Narratives, Reports, Thesis or Research Papers, Persuasive Essays)
  • Short Written Assignments (Letter, Article, Summary)
  • Long Term Performance Assessment (Performance Review for a Job, Progress Report)
  • Laboratory Reports
  • Behavior Plan
  • Social Skills
  • Self Assessment
  • Peer Assessment
  • Judging Contest Entries

Create a Rubric