Designing Rubrics

The performance criteria for a learning activity may be created and placed in an educational rubric. The criteria placed in the rubric direct refer to the current standards and benchmarks used by the school district. The rubric provides a set of four or five gradient levels of achievement for each benchmark as set forth by the performance strand. The teacher uses the rubric to place the student’s achievement level in the appropriate box. The rubric may then be provided to the student or the parent to clarify why the student received the specific grade on the assignment.
The rubric design may be that of the teacher’s, set by the school district or department chair. The form is normally a table or matrix. The set-up displays the criteria for the different levels of achievement in rows or columns. The labels included within in the rubric design are: Criterion Standard; Exceeds, Meets, and Does Not Meet. An extra column or row may be added for the results/grade.
A description of the standard or benchmark is written at the top of the rubric page. The performance outcomes are placed under the label of Criterion Standards. These criteria describe the desired outcome for the benchmark. The descriptive behaviors are placed under the three objects of Exceeds, Meets, and Does Not Meet. The objects need to be measurable, explicit, clear and describe outside classroom application. New strategies and assessments are then built upon the outside classroom application.
The most difficult part of writing a rubric is deciding on how the various levels of student achievement will be measured. In a school where there are several teachers teaching the same subject matter a group consensus works well to prepare the achievement measurements. Three levels are the minimum for the levels of standards. There is no set amount of levels that may be included. Three to four are recommended for ease in evaluation and comprehension for the individual reading the rubric after it has been completed.
The rubric should be designed so values and weights can easily be placed on each area. This affords the teacher an easy and accountable way to assign grades for a given assignment. The key to using a rubric effectively is being constant in the evaluation process.
Grades can easily be given to assignments with the use of a rubric after a weighting has been placed on the outcome. Students receiving their grade and a copy of the rubric will be able to understand why they are getting a particular grade. The conflict between the student and teacher concerning grades will be eliminated.
There are several excellent on-line websites for rubric examples and development. They include: Ruistar,, and The Landmark Project.