Creating and Using Rubrics

Have you ever wondered what a rubric is, how to construct one, or when to use one and which type to use? This resource describes various types of rubrics (analytic, holistic, scoring guide, and single-point), and their components and qualities. It will help guide you in creating and using a rubric in your course. Resources to explore rubrics in more detail are also provided.

What is a Rubric?

A rubric is tool that can be used for communication and assessment purposes in a course. It describes a set of criteria associated with a performance outcome or product that instructors and students can use to guide their work (teaching, learning, assessment). They are typically stated in performance terms, allowing the grader to determine the presence of criteria and the quality of work. The resulting grade reflects the degree to which the work meets the criteria, and ultimately the learning outcome(s) being assessed.

Benefits and Challenges

There are clear benefits to both instructors and students alike to help inform and guide teaching and learning:

Helpfulness to instructors

  • use the criteria and highest level performance descriptions to promote deep learning
  • present assessment components clearly and concisely
  • provide clear guidelines for assessment
  • allow for consistent assessment
  • reduce grading time
  • use the range of performance level descriptions for evaluation, and feedback
  • help instructor refine instructional methods and strategies

Helpfulness to students

  • identify how assessments align to course learning outcomes
  • obtain a clearer understanding of course assessments
  • see the path from lowest level to highest level performance
  • guide learning process
  • evaluate one’s own work
  • use detailed feedback to improve their learning
  • use in peer review to provide feedback to classmates
  • (Stevens & Levi, 2005, p. 28; Elkhoury, E. Y )

Challenges of using rubrics

As with many instructional (and assessment) methods, there are concerns noted about Rubrics.

  • they deny the subjectivity of human judgement (Kohn, 2006, p. 13)
  • they can lead to lower or lack of confidence on learner’s part to take a risk; this often means learner’s repress their creativity in an attempt to meet the criteria to the highest possible level to attain the highest marks possible.


Resource by Jane C. and Denise C.