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Rubric Design


An often overlooked tool, rubrics can offer a powerful way for us to provide feedback in meaningful, efficient ways -- when designed and implemented with intention and purpose. For this lesson, we will define a rubric as a document that articulates the expectations for an assignment by listing the criteria, or what counts, and describing levels of quality with space for feedback on each of the criteria. Additionally, rubrics are frequently used to grade or formally assess student work.

Learning Objectives:

By the end of this lesson, you will be able to...

  • Identify different styles of rubrics and understand when each type is appropriate.

  • Connect learning objectives to rubric criteria.

  • Design a single point rubrics for one of your classes in the fall.

  • Provide feedback to a colleague on a rubric they designed.

Rubrics Overview and Resources (Approximately 30 minutes)

What are different types of rubrics and what are some best practices around their design?

Read this article from Cult of Pedagogy about the differences between holistic, analytical, and single point rubrics. For distance learning, there may be situations where full-fledged, “traditional” holistic or analytical rubrics are appropriate. But those can quickly become cumbersome to read, tedious to create, and too-quickly tossed aside by students.


Consider a single point rubric for quick, efficient rubric design and implementation.


In a single point rubric, only the characteristics of student work that meet each standard are detailed. Students have a clearer sense of what to shoot for in their work, and teachers spend less time enumerating myriad ways that student work could fail to meet the standard. Student work is then broken down and compared to that standard while providing feedback, typically in the form of short, written comments.

Here are some good examples:

Read the following articles about single-point rubrics to get a better understanding of their design:

Designing a rubric identifies skills and content mastery students need to be successful -- and can help with backwards designing instruction for those assessments.

Why write a rubric now for an assignment you might not assign until October?

Because designing the rubric is a part of designing the assessment. The process of creating a rubric invites us to consider what we need to teach our students on a more granular level and how we’ll know whether or not a student has reached a given standard.

Create and Critique a Rubric (Approximately 30 minutes)


Practice creating a single point rubric for a frequently recurring assignment OR the authentic assessment you created in the authentic assessment lesson. Post a shareable link in the Rubric discussion board for feedback from fellow NENTS colleagues.

For example, you could design a rubric for a:

  • Lab report (section or whole)

  • Problem Set

  • Prelab

  • Interpretive Paragraph

  • Multiparagraph essay

  • Research Paper

  • Presentation

  • Podcast

  • Critique

Provide feedback on one of the rubrics from a colleague posted on the Rubric discussion board.

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