Building Rubrics. It doesn’t take a factory.

So you’ve heard about rubrics, why they’re important and effective tools. I’m sure you’ve read numerous classroom anecdotes that explain how a rubric helped students understand the different aspects of what was expected of them for an assignment, or even for a course.

And that means I’m betting you’re fired up to make one. And of course you could write one out in Word using tables and all that.

Why not eLearn?

Seriously. You can make a rubric in eLearn, and use it to attach to almost anything in eLearn, like Discussions, Dropbox assignments, Grade Items. (Granted, if you’re using them to grade discussions, I’d rather you attach them to the Grade Item than the Discussion Board. It makes it so they can see the graded rubric. But that’s a later on thing.)

So how do you do it? It’s SUPER EASY, actually.

In eLearn, go into your course and look under Evaluation. You’ll see a link that says Rubrics. When you click it, it’ll take you to the Rubrics tool, and if this is your first foray into them, the Rubrics tool will be squeaky clean and empty (unless you got your course from someone else, then they may have used -or attempted- a rubric previously). So click “New Rubric”, and let’s get to it.

Making the Rubric

First off, you’ll name it. Name it something that you’ll know what it’s used for, but also keep in mind that these things are visible and will carry over if you copy your course for next semester. So don’t go with “How I grade 2016 wooohooo” Give it a name that fits the item. Like, “Dropbox Article Assignments” so you know that this rubric is meant for that particular assignment.

Second, you’ll need to set the status. You’ve got three options here:

  • Draft – Initial status, can’t be attached, but can be modified.
  • Published – Once you’ve attached a Published rubric, it’s locked in. No more changes.
  • Archived – Hidden from searching the Rubrics tool, can’t be attached to anything new.

I emphasize “new” there because if you archive a rubric that’s associated with an item, that association will remain. You’ll have to disassociate the rubric to attach a new one.

You’ll then give it a Description, and this is not where you make the rubric. It’s so you can write out what this rubric is used for.

Analytic? Holistic? What even..?

If this doesn’t confuse you, congratulations. You’re doing better than I initially did when I was first learning about rubrics. However, if you don’t know, here’s the difference (as stated by Desire2Learn):

Analytic Rubrics
Most rubrics are analytic. An analytic rubric breaks performance into multiple criteria. You assess each criterion separately, resulting in an overall assessment score.

For example, an analytic rubric for assessing essays could have separate criterion for spelling, grammar, and expression. Each criterion can be assessed as poor, good, or excellent, resulting in an overall assessment that adequately evaluates performance.

Holistic Rubrics
Holistic rubrics do not break performance into separate criteria. Performance is assessed holistically, so that you consider several different criteria, but make only one overall assessment.

And once you make a couple of these, you’ll get a feel for how they differ. So…choose which type of rubric you’ll make, and we’ll go from there.

Analytic Rubrics

This assumes you’ve chosen to do an analytic rubric, and that you’ve already given it a name and description.

  • Select the number of levels to your rubric. These are the columns and point value sections.
    • i.e. Awesome (4), Good (3), Fair (2), Needs Improvement (1)
    • These values can be edited in the next screen (Don’t be hasty now!)
  • Select the number of Criteria. These are the rows.
    • Composition, Grammar, etc. go here.
  • Select the Scoring Method for the rubric.
    • Text Only
    • Points
    • Custom Points (can be different amounts for each criteria).
  • You can choose to hide the scores from student’s view. They can still see your selections, just not the points.
  • There’s also an Advanced Availability Options, which will let you attach rubrics to competencies and the ePortfolio (but those are for a later post).
  • Then you can save it by either clicking Save, or by going up top and clicking “Levels and Criteria”. You’ll be going there next, so it’s a preference option really.

Criteria and Levels. Levels and Criteria.

So now you’ll see a table. (I made my example 4 levels and 3 criteria, with Points as the Scoring Method.)

Sample Rubric

Click the dropdowns to edit the Levels and Criteria. Clicking the dropdown beside each Criterion will let you edit the Criteria Name, as well as the Descriptions and Feedback for each level of that Criteria. (Yeah, that’s right, you can pre-fab feedback for each level of this thing.) Clicking the dropdown beside each Level will let you edit the Level Name and points value for that level, as well as all of the Descriptions and Feedback for the Criteria for that Level. Here’s the difference:

Editing Levels vs. Editing Criteria

Editing Levels vs. Editing Criteria

Adjust them how you’d like, and then Save and you can skip to the bottom of this post for the final step.

Holistic Rubrics

This assumes you’ve chosen to do a holistic rubric, and that you’ve already given it a name and description.

  • Select Number of Levels
  • Select Scoring Method
    • Text Only
    • Percentages
  • You can choose to hide the scores from student’s view. They can still see your selections, just not the points.
  • There’s also an Advanced Availability Options, which will let you attach rubrics to competencies and the ePortfolio (but those are for a later post).
  • Then you can save it by either clicking Save, or by going up top and clicking “Levels”. You’ll be going there next, so it’s a preference option really.

Levels, Levels, Levels.

You’ll see the Table (and it looks somewhat different form the Analytic Rubric). I’ve set the sample up for 4 Levels and Percentages Scoring Method.

Sample Holistic Rubric

Here you can set the Levels and Percentages for each Level by clicking the Dropdown. This will also let you edit the Descriptions and Feedback for each level. Fill it out to your heart’s content and click Save when you’re ready to move on to the final step.

The Last Step. You’ve come so far.

Once you’ve set those, you’re ready to use it. Make sure it’s all set up the way you want, change the Status to Published, and then go into edit the Dropbox or Grade Item (or anything else you want it attached to) and click “Add Rubric.” Pick the one you want, and Save it. Done. Easy. And once you’re ready to use them in your grading, you’ll see the rubric as a link in the Grading area that you can click and then select the appropriate levels and such. I hope this helps, and if you have any questions, feel free to send us an email at eLearn@volstate.edu or stop on by!

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