stack of papers to gradeDid you ever hear a student say, “I wish I understood what the professor wanted with this assignment?”  Have your students ever asked how you came to a specific grade? Have you felt the need to create more clarity around an assignment, both for your students and/or your TAs who handle grading?

The solution may be to create a rubric for your students—or even with your students—for the assessment of the paper or project. 

What is a rubric?  A rubric is a tool for assessment that is created by the instructor to articulate clear expectations for an assignment and how it is to be graded.  In some cases, it can even be helpful to elicit help from students in creating the rubric because, when students are involved in planning how they will be graded, they take ownership of the assignment and their understanding of what is expected is improved.

The Cornell University Center for Teaching Excellence states about rubrics:

Rubrics help instructors:

  • Assess assignments consistently from student-to-student.
  • Save time in grading, both short-term and long-term.
  • Give timely, effective feedback and promote student learning in a sustainable way.
  • Clarify expectations and components of an assignment for both students and course TAs.
  • Refine teaching skills by evaluating rubric results.

Rubrics help students:

  • Understand expectations and components of an assignment.
  • Become more aware of their learning process and progress.
  • Improve work through timely and detailed feedback.

So how do you go about making a rubric? 

  1. You can attend the upcoming workshop, “Designing Rubrics” (February 21, 2013) offered at the CTL by the UVM Writing in the Disciplines Program.
  2. You can go through this helpful tutorial by University of Colorado – Denver.
  3. You could also email ctldoc@uvm.edu to ask for an appointment with one of the Center for Teaching & Learning instructional design specialists who can meet with you individually to assist you in creating a rubric for your class.

Additional Resources:

Grading and Performance Rubrics – Carnegie Mellon

How and Why to use rubrics – Cornell University

Rubric Resource – DePaul University

Examples and How-to’s for Authentic Assessments and Rubrics – University of Central Florida/Orlando

Rubric Development -University of West Florida

Grading Rubrics – University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill