Creating and Using Rubrics
A rubric is a scoring tool that explicitly describes the instructor’s performance expectations for an assignment or piece of work. A rubric identifies:
- criteria: the aspects of performance (e.g., argument, evidence, clarity) that will be assessed
- descriptors: the characteristics associated with each dimension (e.g., argument is demonstrable and original, evidence is diverse and compelling)
- performance levels: a rating scale that identifies students’ level of mastery within each criterion
Rubrics can be used to provide feedback to students on diverse types of assignments, from papers, projects, and oral presentations to artistic performances and group projects.
Benefitting from RubricsA carefully designed rubric can offer a number of benefits to instructors. Rubrics help instructors to:
- reduce the time spent grading by allowing instructors to refer to a substantive description without writing long comments
- help instructors more clearly identify strengths and weaknesses across an entire class and adjust their instruction appropriately
- help to ensure consistency across time and across graders
- reduce the uncertainty which can accompany grading
- discourage complaints about grades
- understand instructors’ expectations and standards
- use instructor feedback to improve their performance
- monitor and assess their progress as they work towards clearly indicated goals
- recognize their strengths and weaknesses and direct their efforts accordingly
Examples of Rubrics
Here we are providing a sample set of rubrics designed by faculty at Carnegie Mellon and other institutions. Although your particular field of study or type of assessment may not be represented, viewing a rubric that is designed for a similar assessment may give you ideas for the kinds of criteria, descriptions, and performance levels you use on your own rubric.
- Example 1: Capstone Project in Design This rubric describes the components and standards of performance from the research phase to the final presentation for a senior capstone project in design (Carnegie Mellon).
- Example 2: Engineering Design Project This rubric describes performance standards for three aspects of a team project: research and design, communication, and team work.
- Example 1: Oral Exam This rubric describes a set of components and standards for assessing performance on an oral exam in an upper-division course in history (Carnegie Mellon).
- Example 2: Oral Communication This rubric is adapted from Huba and Freed, 2000.
- Example 3: Group Presentations This rubric describes a set of components and standards for assessing group presentations in history (Carnegie Mellon).
- Example 1: Discussion Class This rubric assesses the quality of student contributions to class discussions. This is appropriate for an undergraduate-level course (Carnegie Mellon).
- Example 2: Advanced Seminar This rubric is designed for assessing discussion performance in an advanced undergraduate or graduate seminar.
See also "Examples and Tools" section of this site for more rubrics.
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A rubric is a tool that lists evaluation criteria for an assignment. Rubrics can help students organize their efforts to meet the requirements of an assignment. Instructors use rubrics to ensure consistent and impartial grading.
Watch a Tutorial then Download a Starter Rubric:
- How to Create a Rubric to Grade Student Work
- How to Grade Using a Rubric
- Download “Sample” Blackboard Rubrics
How to Create a Rubric:
New rubrics default to three rows and three columns (scroll down to learn how to reuse or exchange rubrics with colleagues):
- On your course’s Control Panel, expand the Course Tools section and select Rubrics.
- On the Rubrics page, click Create Rubric.
- Type a Name for the rubric. The name is the title text that identifies the rubric.
- Enter a Description to make it easier to associate it to relevant assignments.
- Edit the rubric grid (see next section).
- Click Submit.
How to Edit the Rubric Grid:
Edit the rubric grid so it corresponds to the type of feedback and scoring appropriate for the assignment:
- Click Add Row to add a new criterion at the bottom of the grid.
- Click Add Column to add a new level of achievement to the grid.
- Choose a Rubric Type from the drop-down list:
- No Points: Feedback only.
- Points: Single point value for each Level of Achievement.
- Point Range: Range of values for each Level of Achievement.
- Percent: Flexible depending on each assignment’s possible points.
- Percent Range: Range of values for each Level of Achievement. During the grading process, you select the appropriate percentage level for a particular Level of Achievement and the system calculates the points earned by multiplying the weight x achievement percentage x item points.
- Click Edit from a label’s contextual menu to change their names. A label identifies the rows and columns with heading names.
- Type a point or percentage value for each row.
- Type a description defining the criteria and the associated Level of Achievement.
- Click Submit.
Each cell has a 1,000-character limit. You can reorder rows and columns by clicking the reordering functions located above the labels.
After you use a rubric for grading, you cannot edit it. You can copy the rubric to create a duplicate rubric that you can edit (see section on copying and editing a rubric further down the page).
Using Percentage-Based Rubrics:
When you are using percent-based rubrics, select from the following options:
- On the action bar, select the Show Criteria Weight check box to show or hide criteria weights. If additional rows are added when weights are hidden, weights for new criteria are distributed equally.
- Use the Balance Weights function after adding a new row to keep all criteria weighted equally. If you prefer individual criteria weighting, type percentages for each criterion. You must select the Show Criteria Weight check box for the Balance Weights function to appear.
- The total weight for all criteria must equal 100%. No row may have a 0% weight. At least one Level of Achievement must have a value of 100%.
Copying and Editing a Rubric
Copying a rubric is helpful if you have similar assignments for your students that will follow the same criteria. This allows you to keep the settings, and you can rename the rubric. You can also copy a rubric when you want to edit a rubric that was already used for grading.
You can duplicate a rubric by selecting the Copy option from a rubric’s contextual menu. A copy is created automatically with the name of the rubric in parentheses followed by the number one. For example, you can copy “Introductory Speech” to create “(Introductory Speech)(1).”
You can edit a rubric’s name to add a new name by selecting Edit from the rubric’s contextual menu. The Edit Rubric page allows you to edit all the settings for a rubric.
Importing and Exporting Rubrics
To facilitate sharing rubrics between Blackboard Learn courses, you are able to export and import rubrics. You should not edit the rubric outside of Blackboard Learn.
- On the Control Panel, expand the Course Tools section and select Rubrics.
- To import a rubric, click Import Rubric on the action bar and browse for the file. Click Submit to upload the file.-OR-To export a rubric, select the check box next to the rubric’s name and click Export on the action bar. You can download and import the file into a different course or share it with other instructors for use in their Blackboard Learn courses.
- Call our Blackboard Help line 24 hours a day, every day at (213) 740-5555 and choose option 2.
- Faculty can request help and training from USC’s Enterprise Learning Technologies group by submitting a request to firstname.lastname@example.org.