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Best Practices | Rubrics

Overview

A Rubric is a tool that lists evaluation criteria for a particular assignment (i.e., paper, discussion or blog post, wiki, etc.). The Rubric exists as a sort of contract between the instructor and students that outlines expectations on both sides. Instructors can employ rubrics to explain their evaluation methodology to students, and students can work effectively toward meeting the requirements of an assignment. Rubrics should both develop and maintain a sense of objectivity in assessment. In the absence of objectivity, students might feel that they are not being graded fairly. Further, Rubrics should avoid punitive language and strive for transparency in expectations for students.

 

From a practical standpoint, Rubrics are traditionally made up of rows and columns. The rows correspond to the various criteria of an assignment (e.g., analysis, format, content, mechanics, etc.). The columns correspond to the level of achievement expressed for each criterion (i.e., met, somewhat met, not met). A description and point value for each cell in the rubric defines the evaluation and score of an assignment.

In Practice

Holistic Rubrics are the most general and are very similar to learning scales. It lists three to five levels of performance along with a broad description of the characteristics that define each level.

 

Holistic Rubric for Discussion Board
Criteria Ratings Points
Excellent to Very Good Performance. Models professionalism and exemplary intellectual engagement with the course content. Demonstrates ability to productively identify important implications and extensions of the readings in ways that motivate and deepen inquiry in the course. Posts and replies are on time or early. Replies are engaged, polite, and offer support, critiques, and useful suggestions. This area will be used by the assessor to leave comments related to this criterion. 5 pts
Good to Average Performance. Applies course content effectively, but may fail to address all elements of the assignment. Grammar is of high quality but may display minor inconsistencies. Replies are engaged and polite, but may not offer much critical thinking or suggestions. This area will be used by the assessor to leave comments related to this criterion. 4 pts
Below Average Performance. Post may not model a professional, collegial demeanor. Post may be inconsistent with the assignment instructions; comments may lack depth and/or oversimplify the issues at hand or may be incomplete. Grammar may be inconsistent. Post and replies may be late in a manner that reduces participation. Replies may not be present. This area will be used by the assessor to leave comments related to this criterion. 3 pts
Poor Performance. Post was not completed or does not address assignment requirements. Comments may be shallow or incomplete. Grammar is poorly executed. This area will be used by the assessor to leave comments related to this criterion. 0 pts
- - Total Points: 12

 

Analytic Rubrics breaks down the characteristics of an assignment into parts, allowing the scorer to itemize and define exactly what aspects are strong, and which ones need improvement.

 

Discussion
Criteria 5 Points 3 Points 1 Point 0 Points Possible Points
Frequency of Participation Replied to two student posts Replied to one student post - Did not reply to any other student posts 5 Points
Quality of Contribution in Original Post Original post provided more than one additional fact/opinion Original post provided one additional fact/opinion Original post was minimal and did not provide additional facts/opinions The student did not contribute an original post 5 Points
Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar Posts included one or fewer errors Posts included two or three errors Posts included more than three errors - 5 Points
- - - - - Total Points: 15

 

Single-Point Rubrics are a lot like an analytic rubric, because it breaks down the components of an assignment into different criteria, but it only describes the criteria for proficiency. It does not attempt to list all the ways a student could fall short, nor does it specify how a student could exceed expectations.

 

Single-Point Rubric
Criteria Ratings Points
Quality of Contribution in Original Post: Original post applies course content effectively. This area will be used by the assessor to leave comments related to this criterion. 5 Points
Frequency of Participation: Replied to two other posts, adding content and substance to the discussions. This area will be used by the assessor to leave comments related to this criterion. 5 Points
Spelling and Grammar: Posts include few to no errors. This area will be used by the assessor to leave comments related to this criterion. 5 Points
- - Total Points: 15

Additional Resources

If you are looking for some ideas or help building a rubric for your course, there are some free online tools where you can build a rubric or find existing rubrics.

Canvas Guides

Check out the following links for information on how to add rubrics to your course in Canvas.

You may also be able to find an existing rubric in Canvas Commons that you can import into your course.

References

Gonzalez, J. (2014). Know Your Terms: Holistic, Analytic, and Single-Point Rubrics. Cultofpedagogy.com. Retrieved 22 August 2016, from http://www.cultofpedagogy.com/holistic-analytic-single-point-rubrics/