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:
Before you begin exploring, try your hand at this interactive matching game: Assessment Terms - A Matching Puzzle *


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
Holistic 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
Analytic 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**
General 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**
Task-specific 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

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):

      Versions for Viewing & Printing
    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)

    Evaluating Rubric Data - To assist you in interpreting your rubric data, we are providing a sample rubric assessment tool (with data) and a blank template for your use (in Excel - courtesy of Pam Schneider)

    * The interactive game above was developed using Hot Potatoes (a freely available evaluation tool).

    Professional Presentations referencing this page:

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

    Summary Plan and website:

    Fairleigh Dickinson University Teaching with New Technologies (TNT) Institute
    Puzzling through Assessment:
    Rubrics and Interactive Assessment Techniques

    May 18, 2005: 2:30-4 pm
    Summary Plan / Handout with links

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

    Questions? Contact: Dr. Bonnie B. Mullinix (

    Webpage originally developed: January, 2004, relocated October, 2006 and October, 2007 (note: previous links may or may not be active)
    Last Updated: October 31, 2007