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Writing a Rubric

When writing a rubric, an instructor or teaching team should set the scale, define the ratings, and develop descriptions of what performance looks like at each level.

The Yale Center for Teaching and Learning provides the following process for rubric development.

  • Define the goal and purpose of the task that is being evaluated - Before constructing a rubric, instructors should review an assignment's learning outcomes. The rubric can only function effectively if goals are clear and student work progresses towards them.
  • Decide what kind of rubric to use - The kind of rubric used may depend on the nature of the assignment, intended learning outcomes (for instance, does the task require the demonstration of several different skills?), and the amount and kind of feedback students will receive.
  • Define the criteria - Instructors should consider what knowledge and skills are required for successful completion. Criteria should be distinct and clearly described, and ideally, not surpass seven in number.
  • Define the rating scale to measure levels of performance - Whatever rating scale instructors choose, they should insure that it is clear, and review it in-class to field student question and concerns. 
  • Write descriptions for each performance level of the rating scale - Each level should be accompanied by a descriptive paragraph that outlines ideals for each level.
  • Test and revise the rubric - The rubric can be tested before implementation, by arranging for writing or testing conditions with several graders or TFs who can use the rubric together.