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These pages are based on the work of Bonnie B. Mullinix (see related TLT Group Flashlight Rubric pages)

Rubrics are a powerful tool for supporting learning by guiding learners activities and increasing their understanding of their own learning process. The following links down or out to support and supplemental materials that will help you to more deeply explore rubrics and their use as an effective assessment tool.

This page includes:

(links jump you down the page)

Before you begin exploring, try your hand at this interactive matching game: Assessment Terms - A Matching Puzzle
[Note: this interactive game was developed using Hot Potatoes (a freely available activity and assessment tool).]


In simple terms – A Rubric shows how learners will be assessed and/or graded. In other words, a rubric provides a clear guide as to how ‘what learners do’ in a course will be assessed.

In formal terms - The following definition, taken from the glossary of Understanding Educational Measurement by Peter McDaniel (1994), also provides a standard definition:

A scoring rubric is a set of ordered categories to which a given piece of work can be compared. Scoring rubrics specify the qualities or processes that must be exhibited in order for a performance to be assigned a particular evaluative rating.

Types and Uses of Rubrics

Types Purpose/Distinction* Focal Use View Samples
provide a single score based on an overall impression of learner achievement on a task. To provide overall evaluation guidelines that clarify how grades relate to performance/achievement, such as in course grades Course grading rubric

Presentation Rubric
provide specific feedback along several dimensions To break assignments or scores down into separate components for grading (description, analysis, grammar, references, etc.) Practicum Portfolio Rubric/Scoring Sheet**
contain criteria that are general across tasks Designed to provide general guidance as to expectations, such as for grading of written assignments Course grading rubric

Position Paper Scoring/Feedback Sheet**
are unique to a task/assignment Designed to provide detailed guidance regarding a specific assignment or task Practicum Portfolio Rubric

Research Paper Scoring/Feedback Sheet **

* adapted from Schreyer Institute for Innovation in Learning
** scoring/feedback sheets designed to be used with a full descriptive rubric (e.g. course grading)

A Rubric for Rubrics - Key levels and criteria to use when assessing rubrics are proposed in this working matrix. It provides a solid orientation to the issues and considerations associated with constructing rubrics.

Creating a Rubric – Key Steps

  1. Identify the type and purpose of the Rubric - Consider what you want to apply assess/evaluate and why (see matrix above).

  2. Identify Distinct Criteria to be evaluated - Develop/reference the existing description of the course/assignment/activity and pull your criteria directly from your objectives/expectations. Make sure that the distinction between the assessment criteria are clear.

  3. Determine your levels of assessment - Identify your range and scoring scales. Are they linked to simple numeric base scores? Percentages? Grades or GPAs?

  4. Describe each level for each of the criteria, clearly differentiating between them - For each criteria, differentiate clearly between the levels of expectation. Whether holistically or specifically, there should be no question as to where a product/performance would fall along the continuum of levels. (Hint: Start at the bottom (unacceptable) and top (mastery) levels and work your way “in”).

  5. Involve learners in development and effective use of the Rubric - Whether it is the first time you are using a particular rubric or the 100th time, learner engagement in the initial design or on-going development of the assessment rubric helps to increase their knowledge of expectations and make them explicitly aware of what and how they are learning and their responsibility in the learning process.

  6. Pre-test and retest your rubric - A valid and reliable rubric is generally developed over time. Each use with a new group of learners or a colleague provides an opportunity to tweak and enhance it.

Sample Rubrics and Scoring Feedback Sheets

The following are Sample Rubrics for your reference, modification and use (please credit their origin as appropriate/when shared publically):
      Versions for Viewing, Printing & Adaptation
    Course Grading Rubric Web Word
    Team Presentation Rubrics
    Self Assessment
    Web Word
    Peer Assessment
    Web Word
    Practicum and Portfolio Assessment Rubric Web Word
    Feedback and Scoring Sheets***
    Reaction/Position Paper Feedback Sheet Web Word
    Research Paper Feedback Sheet Web Word
    Abstract Assessment Feedback Sheet Web Word

*** scoring/feedback sheets designed to be used with a full descriptive rubric (e.g. course grading)

References and Guides to Rubric Development:

A wealth of information regarding Rubric Development is available. Below are some collected online reference for your continuing use and exploration.

Selected Professional Presentations referencing this web-based information:

The Power of Rubrics: Assessment as a Guide to Learning
TLT Group Online Institute, Tuesdays, July 14, 21 & 28, 2009.

Measuring up to Learning Expectations: Rubrics as a Guide to Learning
& Constructing Rubrics
Process Education Conference 2009, Interactive Keynote & Workshop, Gaston College, NC, July 10 2009.

Assessment as a Guide to Learning I: Introduction to Rubrics
& Assessment as a Guide to Learning II: Developing Rubrics
Sessions offered at SCSU 21st Century Faculty Development Academy, June 2 & 3, 2009 and
Greenville Technical College, Fall 2008 & Spring 2009.

A Rubric for Rubrics ~ Reconstructing and Exploring Theoretical Frameworks
POD Network in Higher Education Conference 2007, Pittsburgh, PA. October 26, 2007: 3:45-4:45 pm

Rubrics in the Age of Accountability: Transparent Assessment in Support of Learning
NJEDge - DLAAB Presentation on Rubrics
Summary Plan and website:

Puzzling through Assessment: Rubrics and Interactive Assessment Techniques
Fairleigh Dickinson University Teaching with New Technologies (TNT) Institute. May 18, 2005: 2:30-4 pm
Summary Plan / Handout with links

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