If students are interested in the overall expectations their teachers have for an assignment and the criteria that must be met to complete it, they might like to have a written statement of objectives and/or organized list of required criteria to use as they work. A rubric is such a tool. A rubric identifies the educational goal of an assignment and the requirements for achieving that goal.


Rubrics are assessment tools for evaluating and grading student assignments. Most include several elements. They each are tailored to specific assignments and provide a breakdown of the criteria by which the assignment will be assessed; there are parts that describe the qualities or aspects of student work that will be evaluated (e.g., thesis, graphic design elements, grammar and mechanics, etc.). Further, there are parts that describe student performance levels assigned for those components.as well as outlining a range of achievement levels (e.g., academic comprehension and applied knowledge at different degrees, from excellent/exceeds expectations, to average/meets expectations, to below-average/fails to meet expectations).


There are two main types of rubrics: analytic rubrics and holistic rubrics. According to an article published online at TeacherVision.com, “Analytic rubrics identify and assess components of a finished product,” while “[h]olistic rubrics assess student work as a whole.” Analytic rubrics spell out the levels of possible performance for each criterion; in contrast, holistic rubrics do not show separate levels of performance for each criterion, but rather assign levels of performance based on an assessment of performance across multiple criteria taken together. Analytic rubrics are used more often than holistic rubrics.


There are several reasons to use rubrics as part of an academic assessment plan for students. They can be very helpful to teachers when it comes to grading assignments; rubrics provide a set of guidelines for teachers to follow to make grading more objective and efficient. They are also valuable to students in that they provide a clear understanding of expectations about how to complete an assignment, and concrete feedback as to where they accomplished certain academic goals and where they need to improve. Rubrics help identify the standards required to produce quality work. They help teachers to easily explain to students the reasons they earn specific grades; and they help students to assess their own work.

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