Creating Rubrics


Literally volumes of books, papers, conference proceedings, courses, and online resources are available to provide instructions for creating rubrics. Pared to its core components, the process is simple and logical:


1)    Articulate the assessment objective or purpose (so the context can guide creation of the appropriate type of rubric)

2)    Identify the key criteria of performance to be evaluated (e.g., for an oral presentation, key criteria might include organization, attention to audience interests, clarity of delivery, accuracy of content, and others)

3)    Determine the levels of performance across criteria (such as incomplete, developing, competent, and exceptional)

4)    Describe what each level of performance looks like for each criterion (e.g., what does it mean to say that “attention to audience interests” is “competent”?)


As an alternative to starting from scratch, instructors (or faculty committees, or assessment professionals) can locate and adopt an existing rubric that fits their needs, or adapt an existing rubric or template to develop a customized rubric.


There are even online rubric-development tools that do the formatting based on simple answers to standard questions. Two examples are:
  • iRubric, from RCampus, free for individual educators,
  • Rubistar, from the Advanced Learning Technologies project at the University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning, and
  • Developing a Rubric, a template from Virginia Tech.  

A word of caution: many of the tens of thousands of sample rubrics and how-to’s online are oriented primarily to PK-12 education. Though the principles are basically the same, the assumptions may be different from those of postsecondary education. To assist IUPUI faculty, we have drawn the resources provided here principally from those developed by higher-education institutions and organizations.



Resources for Rubric Creation

Association of American Colleges and Universities VALUE Project
        The major achievement of the Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education Project, completed in fall of 2009, was preparation of institutional-level rubrics for fifteen of the AAC&U Essential Learning Outcomes (e.g., oral communication, critical thinking). All of the VALUE rubrics are available for download in PDF format at the VALUE web site; those most closely related to the IUPUI PULs are linked directly in the Assessing IUPUI PULs section of this website. In addition, the Winter 2009 issue of the AAC&U Peer Review journal focuses entirely on the VALUE project. Though the entire journal must be purchased (IUPUI is a member, so reduced costs apply), several of the articles are available online for general readership. In addition, the Project published in January 2010 Assessing Outcomes and Improving Achievement: Tips and Tools for Using Rubrics (Terrel L. Rhodes, ed.), which can be ordered online at the reduced member rates.
IUPUI University Library
        Information about information literacy in general as well as IUPUI standards for competency in each year of study.

University of West Florida, Center for University Teaching, Learning, and Assessment
        Links to several web sites about rubric development.


University of Hawaii at Manoa, Assessment Center How-to Creating and Using Rubrics
        Useful tips and how-to's for deciding whether and how to use rubrics, how to develop them, how to use them effectively in classes, and how to orient and calibrate group ratings for reliability.


St. John’s University, Online Resources for Higher Education Assessment 
        Extended list of links to various organizations in the assessment and portfolios fields, plus glossaries, explanations, and papers.


North Central College (Illinois), Authentic Assessment Toolbox

        Maintained by Professor Jon Mueller, the Toolbox section on Rubrics includes a helpful overview of the kinds and uses of rubrics as well as advice on creating them.

Community College of Philadelphia, Viewpoints: a journal of developmental and collegiate teaching, learning and assessment, “Building a Better Mousetrap: The Rubric Debate,” Madeline Marcotte 
        Journal article provides an extended introduction--both philosophical and practical--to rubrics in higher education.


California State University Fresno, Institutional Research, Assessment and Planning, “Using Scoring Rubrics” 

        Provides a helpful summary of what rubrics are and how to develop them, along with suggestions for using them for both grading and program assessment.


“Creating a Rubric for a Given Task” 
        Though situated on a web site about WebQuests, this information can easily be generalized to other kinds of assignments at different educational levels.



Sample Rubrics for Reference or Adaptation


OpenEdPractices Resources for Teaching and Learning 
        Extensive database of all sorts of rubrics and articles about rubrics, searchable by college learning outcomes defined in the VALUE Project sponsored by the Association of American Colleges and Universities. The OpenEdPractices site is affiliated with the Open Source Portfolio of Sakai. Rubrics for outcomes most closely resembling the IUPUI Principles of Undergraduate Learning are separately linked elsewhere on this web site.



University of West Florida, Center for University Teaching, Learning, and Assessment 
        Links to collections of rubrics for classroom participation, critical thinking, electronic portfolios, and other special purposes.


Portland State University Center for Academic Excellence, RubricBank Members 
        Includes examples of rubrics from several other institutions, topics, or outcomes.


Binghamton University, State University of New York, Office of Assessment, General Education Assessment 
        Provides institutional rubrics for several of SUNY-Binghamton's general education outcomes.