Rubric Library

What is a rubric?

Rubrics are valuable tools used to assess student learning at the course and program level. When used at the course level, a rubric:

  • Is a scoring instrument that demonstrates assignment expectations
  • Divides the assignment into various dimensions
  • Provides a detailed description for each dimension’s varying performance levels
  • Can be used to grade and assess a variety of assignments such as book critiques, lab reports, group work, research papers, class participation and discussion, portfolios, oral presentations, and other assignments

What are the benefits of using a rubric?

For students, rubrics:

  • Clarify the instructor’s expectations regarding the assignment
  • Provide criteria for achieving learning outcomes
  • Can be used as a guide when developing their assignment

For faculty, rubrics:

  • Can be used to assess any criteria or behavior
  • Help to make the grading process quicker, fairer, and more transparent
  • Allow for consistent grading, from the first assignment through the very last
  • Serve as a reliable grading scale

For discussions after the student work is graded, rubrics:

  • Serve as documentation of the grading process, should student questions arise
  • Reduce ambiguity about how an assignment was graded
  • Show students the level at which they performed
  • To help target areas for student improvement

What are the parts of a rubric?

  • Task description: What is the assignment?
  • Scale: What are the levels of achievement?
    • Commonly used scale levels include:
        • Three-level rubric scale: Advanced, Intermediate, Beginner
        • Four-level rubric scale: Accomplished, Good, Satisfactory, Needs Work
        • Five-level rubric scale: Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, Needs Work
  • Dimensions of the Assignment: What is the breakdown of the skills/knowledge involved?
  • Performance Level Descriptions: What specific feedback can be given for each level of each dimension?



Stevens, D. D., & Levi, A. J. (2013). Introduction to rubrics: An assessment tool to save grading time, convey effective feedback, and promote student learning (2nd ed.). Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing.