E-Learning Blog: Assignment Rubrics

Assignment rubrics are a tool that can be used to evaluate student assignments such as written papers, performances and projects. A rubric can be a really helpful tool for both faculty and students … but they can take time to develop. Here are a few reasons that you may want to consider taking time to develop a rubric for a course project.

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1. High Quality Work

As educators, one of our goals is to help students to gain information and skills so that the work they produce is excellent. When students are able to view a clear grading rubric prior to completing an assignment, they know what is expected of them. This knowledge will help students to focus on the specific areas of the assignment that the instructor has found to be important in quality work. The result … higher quality student submissions!

2. Grading Consistency

Students often wonder exactly how an instructor came to determine the grade that the student received for a submitted paper or project. When an instructor evaluates student work with a grading rubric, there is little room for confusion about how the assignment grade was earned. Rubrics assure students that there is equality in grading and standardized expectations.

3. Rubrics Encourage Self-Reflection

How do human beings learn from mistakes? Self-reflection! A well-crafted rubric can be a fantastic tool for encouraging self-reflection in student work. This can happen naturally when an assignment rubric is available and students review and adjust their work prior to submitting it for the instructor to review. Rubrics can also be a useful tool for peer-review projects. Rubrics can assist students in developing their ability to judge excellence or lack thereof in their work and in the work of others.

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 4. Canvas Rubrics

As an instructor, you can build an assignment rubric in Canvas. This allows you to quickly complete and attach an electronic version of your rubric to students’ submissions, scoring and inputting feedback in a way that is convenient for the instructor and accessible for the student. Of course instructors can still write in or record additional comments as needed when a student submission does not fit “in the box” described by the rubric.

Canvas rubric Example

Additional Resources

We’ve located a few resources on the topic of assignment rubrics that may be helpful to you if you have not yet implemented this tool into your course. Take a look!

Understanding Rubrics

Tame the Beast: Tips for Designing and Using Rubrics

When you’re building your first few rubrics, it may be hard to think through the type of information to include in each box to clarify various “levels” of student achievement in an area. If you find yourself in this place, you may want to take a look at RubiStar. RubiStar is a rubric builder that I have often recommended for K-12 instructors. It may not create a rubric that would be perfect for your class – but looking at a variety of examples for projects similar to ones in your class may help you to develop and clarify content for your rubric.

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