APPENDIX C What Are Rubrics and How Can We Use Them?
A rubric is a scoring tool that explicitly represents the instructor’s performance expectations for an assignment or piece of work. A rubric divides the assigned work into component parts and provides clear descriptions of different levels of quality associated with each component. Rubrics can be used for a wide array of assignments: papers, projects, oral presentations, artistic performances, group projects, and so on. Rubrics can be used as scoring or grading guides, and to provide formative feedback to support and guide ongoing learning efforts.
Using a rubric provides several advantages to both instructors and students. Grading according to an explicit and descriptive set of criteria (designed to reflect the weighted importance of the objectives of the assignment) helps ensure that the instructor’s grading standards remain consistent across a given assignment. Furthermore, although they initially take time to develop, rubrics can reduce the time spent grading by reducing uncertainty and by allowing instructors to refer to the rubric description rather than having to write long comments. Finally, grading rubrics are invaluable in large courses that have multiple graders (other instructors, teaching assistants, and so on) because they can help ensure consistency across graders.
Used more formatively, rubrics can help instructors get a clearer picture of the strengths and weaknesses of their students as a group. By recording ...