Assessment rubrics

An assessment rubric is a criteria-based marking tool. Rubrics give students clarity on what is expected and build students’ self-efficacy.

What is it?

Assessment rubrics are criteria-based marking tools that support consistency in marking practices and provide opportunities for effective formative assessment. Analytic rubrics are most common and supported by many learning technologies; they dissect an assessment task into different criteria, each of which is graded on a scale and accompanied with descriptions for different levels of performance. Analytic rubrics give students clarity on what is expected and ensure that their work is marked in line with a consistent set of criteria. In addition, analytic rubrics can offer an effective way to facilitate formative assessment and self-regulation. For example, using assessment rubrics for self-assessment and/or peer review will help students’ track their progress towards achievement of intended learning outcomes and increase self-confidence in their ability to complete the task. Regular rubric-based exercises will develop students’ evaluative judgement and understanding of academic quality – the core attributes of a life-long learner.

Why is it useful?

Benefits for students

  • Supplements assessment guidelines by providing clarity on what is expected at different levels of achievement
  • Promotes independent learning by giving students a device to self-assess and understand their progress
  • Engages students in metacognition and facilitates the development of evaluative judgement
  • Supports formative feedback provision in preparation for a summative assessment.

Benefits for educators

  • Facilitates consistent marking across your teaching team
  • Supports implementation of effective formative assessment.

How do I implement it?

To implement assessment rubrics in your teaching, try these strategies:

  • Provide clarity and consistency through a clear and concise articulation of different levels of achievement. For example, use adjectives and adverbs consistently across different criteria to prompt consistency in their application.
  • Support reliability and validity in assessment by aligning assessment criteria with intended learning outcomes and test rubrics before release. For example, you can get different members of your teaching team to use the rubric to mark a sample of past papers. This will ensure agreement among different markers and consistent interpretation of the rubric criteria. Testing a newly written rubric on past assignments also allows you to check if the rating descriptions are applied consistently and that they capture distinct levels of student achievement.
  • Encourage student interactions with the rubric by making it available well before the assessment task is due. This will give students adequate time to seek clarification. It will also allow you to create purposeful interactions between the students and the rubric. For example, you can give students time in class to assess their own – or their peers’ – drafts against the rubric. Rubric-based self-assessment and peer-review exercises give students a chance to not only understand how they are progressing towards the completion of the task but also engage them in metacognition and develop their evaluative judgement.
  • Co-create rubrics with students to enhance students’ self-regulation. In some teaching contexts, it may be appropriate and feasible to involve students in writing rubrics together with the teaching staff. The process of co-design will make students internalise the assessment criteria, which, in turn, can help with goal setting and activation of appropriate learning strategies. Students can participate in the design of rubrics through in-class brainstorming exercises. Following the brainstorming session with students, collate their contributions and use them to build a rubric.

Supporting technologies

  • LMS rubrics can be attached to any assignment, including LMS Quizzes and Discussions, and used for marking students’ submissions via the SpeedGrader. LMS rubrics can have either a point value or a point range attached to each criterion. You can also remove the points to create a qualitative rubric or choose to write free-form comments on each criterion when marking students’ submissions in the SpeedGrader.
  • FeedbackFruits can facilitate rubric-based peer review, self-assessment, and group member evaluation. In FeedbackFruits, you can set up feedback criteria through rubrics, scale ratings or free-form comments or use a combination of these tools within a single assessment task. Criteria you create within one assessment task can be reused in your future FeedbackFruits activities.
  • PebblePad ATLAS allows you to add rubrics using the feedback template functionality, or the score card functionality. You can use lists of criteria or analytic rubrics. ATLAS can pass numeric marks back to the LMS Gradebook; however, the details of the rubric and any written feedback would stay in PebblePad.
  • Gradescope allows you to build and refine rubrics while marking. This gives you a chance to capture a wide range of students’ responses and makes rubrics an effective feedback device. The changes will apply to all assignments, including those already marked.
  • Cadmus can facilitate marking via the Turnitin Feedback Studio. If you already have a rubric in .xls, .xlsc or .rbc file, you can upload that to the Turnitin Feedback Studio. Once the rubric is uploaded, it can be edited in the Rubric Manager on Turnitin. Turnitin QuickMarks (i.e., in-text comments) can be associated with a specific criterion within the rubric. You can also create a library of QuickMarks to be reused across different assessment tasks.


This page was last updated on 17 Oct 2022.

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