A rubric is a list or chart that describes the criteria that one uses to evaluate or rate performance. Rubrics are helpful tools in assessing student learning, especially for areas like behavior or performance, which can be difficult to capture in more traditional assessment techniques such as surveys.

The advantages of using a rubric include:

  • Help to clarify vague or fuzzy goals or criteria
  • Can help quantify behaviors, thoughts, and performances, which are often hard to capture but can be observed or demonstrated through an artifact
  • Help students understand what is expected of them and at which level they are performing
  • Help students self-improve by comparing their work against the rubric
  • Improve efficiency of rating or scoring student learning by keeping the rater focused on what is important
  • Allow for accurate, unbiased, and consistent scoring
  • Provide descriptive feedback to students
  • Provide detailed results in student learning when rubrics results are aggregated
  • Provide both qualitative and quantitative data
  • Lend themselves to people who are more comfortable with words than numbers due to the use of descriptions

Challenges of using rubrics include:

  • Developing a tool can be time intensive
  • Need to prepare rubric well ahead of time so students are aware of the expectations
  • Need to ensure intra-rater and inter-rater reliability
  • Need to plan into learning experience an opportunity to demonstrate learning
  • Less flexible – harder to change mid-data collection, but can change from project to project as rubric tool is refined


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