By Dr. Michael Torrence, Assistant Vice President of Academic Affairs

Rubric Usefulness

Rubrics are a useful tool aimed at creating clear scoring guidelines that aid in providing undeviating standards to gauge student work. One of the more compelling motives for adhering to the use of the same rubric for various disciplines, for example, multiple teachers who teach the same course, is to provide equitable feedback about the tenets of an assignment prompt.

The rubric also further defines the points of performance a student can strive toward in an effort to earn a passing grade. As a tool that adheres to a specific set of criterion, a rubric is a lens in which students can look through as they develop their projects and papers. Their view through this lens is less complicated as they find clear determinants surrounding what is and what is not within the project parameters. Students enjoy the use of rubrics because it is an evaluative tool and when the rubric is effectively written, authentic assessment is achieved and feedback is more concrete. Often, students and faculty find communicating about points of confusion or providing teachable moments is easier when they both can refer to the points of the assignment.

As an Assistant Professor of Education and as an adjunct, my intent was and still is to utilize rubrics for consistency in the grading process. Students are inquisitive about why or how letter grades are arrived at and what process defines whether or not certain lexical items exceed, meet, or are still reaching for the mark of appropriate responses to particular assignments. I continue to find it useful to prepare a rubric that spans the duration of an assignment because it provides students with clarity of the grading process, further, it has genuinely provided a legitimate and standardized roadmap for learners.

Child with pencil talking to teacher.
“How do you expect me to write with this? It doesn’t even have a USB port for a keyboard!”

Rubric Resources

I would like to offer up several links and locations that would provide you with an opportunity to review and learn more about rubrics. Each link opens a new window.

From the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD):

Tools for building and scoring rubrics:

Resources from other institutions:

Vol State resources:

Quote and portrait of W.E.B. DuBois
“Children learn more from what you are than what you teach.” – W.E.B. DuBois