Rubrics: For Teachers and Students

Rubrics have become main stream in today’s educational systems.  Often times educators include rubrics at the prompting of their administrators or because it is an expected component of a course, but there are substantial benefits for both teachers and students.

Consistent use of rubrics aid students in understanding the core concepts of an assignment and what they should be taking away from a particular assignment or project.  Rubrics can function as a checklist and provide guidance when completing small and large assignment alike.  Another positive is the concrete feedback that comes from a rubric.  Often times grading, especially for subjective assignments consisting of writing, can be perplexing for students without specific feedback; rubrics provide frameworks for these grades and allow students to focus on areas of weakness.  The benefits towards students are fairly obvious, but what are often overlooked are the benefits for the instructor.

One of the most laborious aspects of teaching is the grading component.  Using specific and structured rubrics insures that each student is graded fairly and consistently within the expectations of the course.  It removes some of the subjectivity of grading and allows a teacher to focus only on the elements presented in the rubric.  Not only does it remove inconsistencies, but rubrics increase expediency as well.  Using a well-developed rubric can reduce the number of comments from a teacher while still maintaining a high level of constructive feedback for students.  For teacher and students to reap maximum benefits from a rubric, it is always best to provide rubrics at the beginning of a course or project.  This will provide students with objectives to work towards and help guide teachers in their instruction.

There are many sites that are dedicated to providing educators with rubrics.  Two sites that provide teachers with the opportunity to customize and create their own rubrics are http://rubistar.4teachers.org/ and irubric.com.  Both sites are free and have categorized premade rubrics with the option of tweaking their rubrics or starting your own from scratch.

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4 Responses to Rubrics: For Teachers and Students

  1. Jason Dunbar says:

    Hi Benjamin. I think rubrics are a great resource/guide for students when completing an assignment or project. I do not use rubrics in my line of work. For me, you either understand the content or you don’t.

    Can teachers truly be 100% subjective, even with a rubric to guide their grading? When you build a personal relationship with your students I think it would be difficult to grade fairly (in some circumstances) when you know how hard students work on their assignments to get the best possible grade. Or sometimes it’s not about reaching for the A but becoming proficient in an area that they have struggled with for some time (i.e. reading, spelling, citing, etc.).

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  2. Heather Schelt says:

    Hi Benjamin,
    I am so glad that you mentioned this topic. I typically use rubrics to grade exams, papers and projects and find that it really makes the grading process easier and allows my students to see the expectations before they submit the assignment for grading. It’s crazy to think that there was such a push back with rubrics in the 90’s when they were first introduced, now it’s pretty much considered a best practice for teachers in the K-12 school system. I feel like many professors do not utilize rubrics to grade large assignments, I know this semester one professor does and one does not. It’s such a challenge as a Grad school student to know the expectations without a rubric. I wonder if you have encountered this within your grad school classes as well?

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  3. r31cotton says:

    Thanks for the post Benjamin! I could not agree more about the importance of using rubrics for students and teachers. From a teachers perspective it often requires some front loading (thanks for sharing those websites!), but can cut down on grading time as you mentioned. I’ll add the importance of going over the rubric with students at least when you first start to use them. I know that some of my students were unsure about the purpose of the rubric when I first implemented it.

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  4. rmsalas72 says:

    Benjamin, I always find your reflections very interesting and pertinent. Rubrics is a very important component during teaching practice and I think when they are well developed they are also a powerful resource for learners as well. I found when an instructor share their expectations with the students they are more likely to achieve the course objectives and understand the grading process.
    Thank you for sharing these resources. I found it beneficial to explore this site for enriching teaching experiments or just for inspiration when creating your own grading tools.

    Rosanna

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