A rubric is an evaluation tool used to deliver clear, concise, and timely feedback. Rubrics promote consistency by using the same ratings for performance across individuals. Rubrics provide a visual representation of the components being rated such as tasks and assignments. They also describe acceptable levels of performance for each component's outcome.

Rubrics are presented as a matrix with criteria in rows and a performance levels in columns. Rubrics can be numeric, attaching a numbered point scale to each level of performance indicator. Non-numeric rubrics don't have a point scale but rely on the description of each level of performance for a rating. The headers for each column and row are defined by a user. An inline editor is available at the intersection of each row and column so you can provide a detailed description of what's being rated and how it's being measured.

Common uses for rubrics

Rubrics are most commonly used for rating or scoring individual assignments within a course. When you use the same rubric across all sections of a course for a common assignment, students are consistently scored against the stated performance or achievement outcomes. This scoring promotes fairness and generates data that you use to measure larger trends across courses and programs.

Using the same rubric to rate all programs offered at your institution standardizes the process of program review by providing a common rating and feedback tool for committee members, administrators and outside accrediting agencies.

Administrators and committee members may also use rubrics to display how programs relate to the mission of the institution.

Rubric example

This example shows a non-numeric rubric for peer course review. The rubric is associated with the course goals that have been entered into the Goals tool. The rubric has six rows with different criteria and three columns with levels of performance. At the intersection of each row and column, a description of how the criteria are rated is presented.

Example rubric
CriteriaDoesn't Meet Course GoalMeets Course GoalExceeds Course Goal
Course Overview and SyllabusA course overview isn't present or isn't clear and concise and can be subject to interpretation. A standard syllabus for all sections isn't used by all teaching faculty. The sequence of material covered isn't similar. Assignments aren't similar.Clear and concise course overview is present. Standard elements exist in the syllabus for all sections of the course. The sequence of material covered is similar. Assignments are similar.Clear and concise course overview is present and posted in course catalog and in all online courses. A standard syllabus exists and is used for all sections of the course. The sequence of material covered is similar. Assignments are similar and use a standard grading rubric.
Learning GoalsLearning goals aren't present or are not clear and measurable.Learning goals are present for major assignments. They are clear and measurable by using assessments.Learning goals are present for all assignments and relate to the course overview and syllabus. Assessments are based on measuring stated learning goals.
AssessmentAssessment of stated learning goals doesn't occur in a regular and predictable way.

Assessments are limited to a final exam or final project.
Assessments are linked to stated learning goals and occur in a regular and predictable ways. Students can demonstrate proficiency and achievement by making presentations, taking tests, and completing writing assignments.Assessments are linked to stated learning goals and measured or scored using rubrics. Students have the opportunity to demonstrate proficiency and achievement of stated goals using multiple self-selected and assigned methods including presentations, research, writing, group projects, peer review, and exams.
Course Materials and ResourcesCourse materials and resources are limited to textbook or other required reading materials and the instructor.Course materials include textbook and other reading material, audio/visual or computer-aided presentations, library reserve or special collections. Course resources include the instructor and other institutional professionals.Course materials include textbooks, other reading material, audio/visual and computer-aided presentations, chat rooms, blogs, discussion boards, and library and special collections items. Course resources include the instructor, institutional professionals, guest speakers, and business leaders.
Learner InteractionStudents participate in class question and answer sessions and may be assigned a lab partner or small group to work with on a project.Students are expected to participate in class to answer questions and lead discussions. Students are encouraged to work together and study together. At least one group project is part of the curriculum are part of class assessment.Students are expected to participate in class and may plan and lead discussions. Students work together on multiple group projects, taking different roles in each. Students use discussion boards and chat tools for peer review and assessment.
Course TechnologyTechnology used in class is limited to basic audio/visual or lab equipment. Students are responsible for using the computer lab or personal computer to complete assignments.Technology used in class can include audio/visual equipment, sophisticated lab equipment such as a DNA sequencer or PCR machine, and computers for making presentations. The course has a web-based component where students can use various tools to download documents, post assignments, and check schedules.Technology used in class can include audio/visual equipment, sophisticated lab equipment, computers for presentations, and students' personal computers for note taking and file sharing. A rich web-based course site is available for students to share work, complete assignments, do research, and interact. Students' technology use is part of student assessment.

Managing rubrics

You can create rubrics within courses or at the system level. You can use system rubrics to evaluate collected evidence.

More on how instructors use rubrics in courses

Add a rubric

New rubrics default to three rows and three columns.

  1. Access the rubric interface from these areas:
    • Original experience: Outcomes Assessment tab or My Institution tab > Tools
    • Ultra experience: Tools page > Goals
  2. Select Create Rubric
  1. Type a rubric Name and, optionally, a Description.
  2. Select a rubric type. Choose Points, or Point Range if you want to assign a point value to each rubric box.
  3. Complete the rubric.
    • Edit the criteria and level of achievement headers.
    • Add or remove rows or columns as necessary.
    • To reorder, select Criteria or Levels of Achievement. A reorder pop-up window allows you to rearrange.
    • Type the descriptions for each.
    • Type the Points value, if you chose to create a point-based rubric.
  4. Select Submit.

Copy a rubric

You can duplicate a rubric. Select Copy from a rubric's menu. A copy is created automatically with the name of the rubric in parentheses followed by the number 1. For example, you can copy "Introductory Speech" to create "(Introductory Speech)(1)."

  1. Navigate to the rubric you want to copy and open its menu.
  2. Select Copy.The copied rubric appears below the original.
  3. You can edit a rubric's name to add a new name. Select Edit from the rubric's menu. The Edit Rubric page allows you to edit all the settings for a rubric.

Modify a rubric

Open any rubric's menu and select Edit.

You can modify a rubric by adding and removing columns and rows from the grid. Use the text box located at the intersection of each row and column to add descriptions and explanations of the criteria and indicators. You can modify the properties of a rubric until it has been used in an evaluation. After an evaluation exists for the rubric, a copy must be made to make changes.