What is a rubric?
A rubric is a scoring guide used to evaluate all aspects of an assessment task, the process, performance and presentation. Rubrics have three key parts:
- Criteria what the students are expected to demonstrate
- Performance level – rating scale (HE Grading scheme)
- Descriptors – what does the criteria ‘look like’ at each performance level
Rubrics are built into Canvas and are available to students along with the assessment task instructions so students have a clear guide to what is expected and how to prepare for the assessment. According to the Assessment policy (21), there are to be no changes to assessment and rubrics after they are made available to students.
Professor Christopher Ziguras discusses 3 top tips when designing a good rubric.
The purpose of a rubric is to provide students and lecturers/markers with:
Clear and consistent guide to the criteria and standards that an assessment task will be graded against.
A transparent, fair, consistent and efficient learning experience.
Personalised feedback to students through comments, video and audio feedback.
How to write a good rubric?
Writing a good rubric involves 5 key steps:
- Identify your levels of criteria
- Setup your HE grading scheme
- Develop your performance level descriptors
- Establish the weighting for each criterion, equaling a total of 100 points
- Review and evaluate for readability, reliability and validity. For example, through peer review, checks against your course guide, assessment instructions and finally through student use and feedback.
Take a moment to explore the interactive resource below for further information and support.
“Be sure to review the ones you have – for example if some part of the rubric gave you trouble when marking, make a note to change/adjust it before teaching the course again.”
“Improve on the rubric each year – note what works, what doesn’t work.”
“It needs to be clear but not simplistic. I wouldn’t have more than 4-5 criteria.”
“Be specific. If something is important enough, then it should be in the rubric.”
“I see benefits along the lines of transparency and clear expectations for students, as well as greater structure, consistency and fairness in the marking process.”
“Rubrics also provide some consistency of marking across tutoring teams and allow course coordinators to clearly indicate marking expectations across the tutoring group”.
“Don’t be afraid to put a lot of effort into your rubric. If done right, it will help you save that time later during marking.”
“Try to be as specific as possible for the particular assessment task and maintain a positive framing across all grade bands.”
If you don’t quite have the time to develop a rubric from scratch, we have carefully designed and developed a suite of rubric examples for different assessment types and study levels. You can download the examples below in a Word document to tweak to your discipline and assessment accordingly, or alternatively these are available within Canvas > Your Assignment > Rubric > Find a Rubric > Examples to build from.
Associate Professor Shane Hulbert discusses the benefits of using rubrics within his Photography courses.
Take a moment to complete the checklist below to ensure you have covered the essentials in your rubric design and development!
References and Supporting Documentation
Please see key references below used to develop the contents of this page and to support you in designing your assessments according to the AQF and RMIT Assessment policy.
You may be interested in…
Further Rubric Support?
If you would like further support designing and developing rubrics contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Building Rubrics in Canvas
Step-by-step instructions on how to build your rubric into your Assessment Instructions within Canvas.
Find out ways to equip your students with meaningful, relevant assessments that cultivate academic integrity.
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