A well-designed rubric has many benefits. In addition to streamlining the assessment process, it also helps students better understand your expectations and the grades they receive. When creating a rubric, there are some key steps that can ensure your rubric is as effective as possible:

  • Consider the learning objectives of the assignment. What skills and content knowledge do you want your students to develop through completing the assignment? Create a list of these objectives, and be sure to prioritize them so that you can give appropriate weight to each one when grading.
  • Consider your expectations for this piece of writing. How will students demonstrate that they have met each of your expectations? These will be your criteria, and will be listed in the far left column of your rubric.
  • Decide what type of assessment scale you want to use. Generally, it's best to use between 3 and 5 levels of proficiency. You may choose to use letter grades, or you may want to use a simpler scale - such as exemplary/competent/developing - that is less about assigning a grade and more about assessing and communicating a student's progress. This scale will be the top row of your rubric.
  • Finally, you need to define what a paper at each level of proficiency will look like. Be sure to describe the characteristics of a paper at each level as clearly and specifically as possible.