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This page and subpages provide information on rubrics (definitions, types, uses), steps for creating rubrics, links to a rubric for rubrics, sample rubrics and references that can help you learn more and create rubrics.

Rubrics are guides that indicate how ‘what learners do’ will be assessed. They are particularly powerful tools for supporting learning in that well crafted rubrics can guide learners in completing activities while simultaneously increasing their understanding of their own learning process.


If in simplest terms – A Rubric shows how learners will be assessed and/or graded. In other words, a rubric provides a clear guide as to how ‘what learners do’ in a course will be assessed.

In formal terms - The following definition, taken from the glossary of Understanding Educational Measurement by Peter McDaniel (1994), also provides a standard definition:

A scoring rubric is a set of ordered categories to which a given piece of work can be compared. Scoring rubrics specify the qualities or processes that must be exhibited in order for a performance to be assigned a particular evaluative rating.

Types and Uses of Rubrics



Focal Use

View Samples


provide a single score based on an overall impression of learner achievement on a task.

To provide overall evaluation guidelines that clarify how grades relate to performance/achievement, such as in course grades

Course grading rubric

Presentation Rubric


provide specific feedback along several dimensions

To break assignments or scores down into separate components for grading (description, analysis, grammar, references, etc.)

Practicum Portfolio Rubric/Scoring Sheet**


contain criteria that are general across tasks

Designed to provide general guidance as to expectations, such as for grading of written assignments

Course grading rubric

Position Paper Scoring/Feedback Sheet**


are unique to a task/assignment

Designed to provide detailed guidance regarding a specific assignment or task

Practicum Portfolio Rubric

Research Paper Scoring/Feedback Sheet **

* adapted from Schreyer Institute for Innovation in Learning
** scoring/feedback sheets designed to be used with a full descriptive rubric (e.g. course grading)

Creating a Rubric - Key Steps

  1. Identify the type and purpose of the Rubric - Consider what you want to apply assess/evaluate and why (see matrix above).
  2. Identify Distinct Criteria to be evaluated - Develop/reference the existing description of the course/assignment/activity and pull your criteria directly from your objectives/expectations. Make sure that the distinction between the assessment criteria are clear.
  3. Determine your levels of assessment - Identify your range and scoring scales. Are they linked to simple numeric base scores? Percentages? Grades or GPAs?
  4. Describe each level for each of the criteria, clearly differentiating between them - For each criteria, differentiate clearly between the levels of expectation. Whether holistically or specifically, there should be no question as to where a product/performance would fall along the continuum of levels. (Hint: Start at the bottom (unacceptable) and top (mastery) levels and work your way “in”).
  5. Involve learners in development and effective use of the Rubric - Whether it is the first time you are using a particular rubric or the 100th time, learner engagement in the initial design or on-going development of the assessment rubric helps to increase their knowledge of expectations and make them explicitly aware of what and how they are learning and their responsibility in the learning process.
  6. Pre-test and retest your rubric - A valid and reliable rubric is generally developed over time. Each use with a new group of learners or a colleague provides an opportunity to tweak and enhance it.

Assessing and Evaluating Rubrics

A tool that has proven helpful for guiding individuals in the development  of rubrics is A Rubric for Rubrics.  Bonnie Mullinix developed this working matrix in 2001 which incorporates key levels, indicators and criteria to use when assessing rubrics. This meta-rubric when integrated into introductory training sessions provides a solid orientation to the issues and considerations associated with constructing rubrics.  When used to evaluate rubric quality, it can help individuals target areas for improvement.

Sample Rubrics and Scoring Feedback Sheets

The following are links to sample Rubrics for your reference, modification and use (please credit their origin as appropriate/when shared publically):


Versions for Viewing, Printing & Adaptation

Course Grading Rubric



Team Presentation Rubrics

Self Assessment



Peer Assessment



Practicum and Portfolio Assessment Rubric



Feedback and Scoring Sheets***

Reaction/Position Paper Feedback Sheet



Research Paper Feedback Sheet



Abstract Assessment Feedback Sheet



*** scoring/feedback sheets designed to be used with a full descriptive rubric (e.g. course grading)


References and Guides to Rubric Development

A wealth of information regarding Rubric Development is available. Below are some collected online reference for your continuing use and exploration.

For Guides to developing Rubrics in support of teaching, learning and self reflection:

This page is drawn largely from Bonnie Mullinix's Rubric reference page - http://www.tltgroup.org/resources/Rubrics.htm

Flashlight Resources - TLT Group assessment, evaluation and survey tools

Scoring Rubrics - http://ericae.net/faqs/rubrics/scoring_rubrics.htm - Definitions & Construction

Rubric Basics - http://www.inov8.psu.edu/toolbox/RubricBasics.pdf - Definitions, types, purposes, learner involvement, learning enhancement and rubric use (Schreyer Institute for Innovation in Learning) .

Rubric Builder - https://www.e-education.psu.edu/facdev/id/assessment/rubrics/rubric_builder.html - An interactive web page rubric that can score and give item specific feedback Rubistar - http://rubistar.4teachers.org/ - Helps you construct online rubrics

Roobrix - http://roobrix.com/ - Converts your rubric scores into percentages.

Waypoint - http://www.subjectivemetrics.com/index.cfm - online, interactive rubrics that let you create tailored narrative feedback for students based on your rubric and, on a larger scale (multiple classes, programs, institution-wide) collect and analyze longitudinal data on student performance.

Search for sample rubrics at:

AAC&U Value Project Rubrics - http://www.aacu.org/value/ - The VALUE (Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education) is a set of rubrics for fifteen learning outcomes deemed essential for 21st century student success. The rubrics, developed with input from over 100 contributors and tested at over 80 institutions over an 18 month period, focus on core elements shared broadly across different types of institutions at progressively more sophisticated levels of achievement.

http://openedpractices.org/resources - An open source site where many of the rubrics used in the VALUE Project were collected from campuses around the country. Rubrics sorted by outcome and institutions.

MERLOT - http://www.merlot.org/merlot/index.htm - Online repository of learning objects and materials for higher education (particularly online teaching, but contains face-to-face and hybrid options). 

MERLOT ELIXR’s Assessment Rubrics Digital Case Stories - http://elixr.merlot.org/assessment-evaluation/assessment-rubrics/assessment-rubrics4 - A team at University of Colorado Denver and Community College of Denver created six discipline-specific digital case stories on Assessment Rubrics for the MERLOT ELIXR project.  The case stories spotlight the multiple types and uses of Assessment Rubrics as vehicles for advancing student learning. The stories range from co-designing rubrics with students, using them for self-assessment, and communicating learning outcomes.

The Rubric Bank - http://intranet.cps.k12.il.us/Assessments/Ideas_and_Rubrics/Rubric_Bank/rubric_bank.html - Some examples of rubrics in key disciplines (mostly K-12, many at state levels).

The POD Network Custom Search Engine - http://www.podnetwork.org/search.htm#faculty – allows you to search Centers for Teaching and Learning within Higher Education for sample rubrics. Example:

Matching Games

The following are online matching games developed and shared by Bonnie Mullinix to enhance knowledge of assessment/evaluation terminology related to rubrics and to allow people to explore ordering of levels associated with the Rubric for Rubrics:

Assessment Terms - A Matching Puzzle

Rubric Criteria Matching Games (online version of Rubrics Puzzle for Small Groups)

[Note: these interactive games were developed using Hot Potatoes (a freely available tool for developing web-based activities and assessment exercises).]


 List of Contributors
  •  Eli Collins-Brown, EdD, Director of Inst Tech and Faculty Developmnet, Methodist College of Nursing, ecollins-brown@mcon.edu.
  •  Bonnie B. Mullinix, EdD, Sr. Consultant, Faculty & Educational Development, TLT Group, mullinix@tltgroup.org
  • Season Eckardt, ELIXR Program Manager, California State University, Office of the Chancellor, seckardt@calstate.edu