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Rubric Tool

What is a rubric?

Rubric ExampleA rubric is a great tool for teachers because it is a simple way to set up a grading criteria for assignments. Not only is this tool useful for teachers, it is helpful for students as well. A rubric defines in writing what is expected of the student to get a particular grade on an assignment.

Heidi Goodrich Andrade, a rubrics expert, defines a rubric as "a scoring tool that lists the criteria for a piece of work or 'what counts.' " For example, a rubric for an essay might tell students that their work will be judged on purpose, organization, details, voice, and mechanics.

A good rubric also describes levels of quality for each of the criteria. These levels of performance may be written as different ratings (e.g., Excellent, Good, Needs Improvement) or as numerical scores (e.g., 4, 3, 2, 1) Under mechanics, for example, the rubric might define the lowest level of performance as "7-10 misspellings, grammar, and punctuation errors," and the highest level as "all words are spelled correctly; your work shows that you understand subject-verb agreement, when to make words possessive, and how to use commas, semicolons and periods."

Why use rubrics?

According to Heidi Goodrich Andrade:

Involve your students

How do I create a good rubric?

Sometimes it's not possible to find an appropriate existing rubric to use or modify. To create your own rubric, follow these steps.

1. List the criteria that will be used in assessing performance in the first column.
The criteria you use should be related to the learning outcome(s) that you are assessing. For example, a musical performance might be rated for intonation, rhythmic accuracy, and tone quality and an oral presentation might be rated for content, organization, delivery and language. Be sure that your criteria are explicit. "Neatness" would not be a good criterion because the term "neat" is not explicit enough. What is neatness?You may want to look at some actual examples of student work to see if you have omitted any important criteria.

2. Determine your performance ratings / levels in the first row.
Examples of performance ratings may be:

3. Write a description for each performance level.
Describe the different levels of performance that match each criterion. You may want to start with the best and worst levels of quality, and then fill in the middle levels based on your knowledge of common problems. It may be helpful to sort examples of actual student work into three piles: the very best, the poorest and those in between.  Try to articulate what makes the good assignments good and the poor assignments poor.

4. After use, evaluate and revise rubric as needed.