What is an assessment rubric?
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What is an assessment rubric?

What is an assessment Rubric?

A rubric relating to assessment usually takes the form of a matrix or grid, and is a very useful tool that is used to interpret and grade students’ work against criteria and standards. The criteria are laid out in table form and often used as a cover sheet for assignments.

Samples of a rubric 

Rubrics are sometimes called ‘criteria sheets’, ‘grading schemes’ or ‘scoring guides’ depending on the institution, the level of study and the country. The principle, though, is the same internationally.

Rubrics can be designed for any content domain. They are not limited to specific subjects or courses. They work equally as well in the science area as they do in the arts. They can be used at single assessment level or even subject level. There are examples of rubrics being used at course level in some instances.

A rubric makes explicit a range of assessment criteria and expected performance standards. This is the key issue and the added value of the rubric. It is made clear from the outset what is required in the assessment item and how the item will be marked according to levels of achievement.

Assessors evaluate a student’s performance against all of these criteria – rather than assigning a single subjective score. The score remains intact – but there is an inbuilt narrative around the grade that provides the student with either summative or formative information – this is extremely valuable.

A rubric handed out to students during an assessment task briefing makes them aware of all expectations related to the assessment task – and helps them evaluate their own work as it progresses. This is a very good approach to assessment and marking.

A rubric, in turn, helps teachers apply consistent standards when assessing qualitative tasks – and promotes consistency in shared marking. If more than one marker is involved in assessment – the rubric becomes essential.

You can use rubrics to structure discussions with students about different levels of performance on an assessment task. When the task is outlined – the rubric provides a valuable overview of how the assignment will actually be marked. Once you have familiarised students with the concept of rubrics – they can take part in the process – taking greater responsibility for their learning

Rubrics – though not mandated in Higher Education Standards Framework – are not a bad idea and well worth exploring. Rubrics are currently used in all UBSS MBA subjects.


Emeritus Professor Greg Whateley, Deputy Vice Chancellor, Group Colleges Australia