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About Rubrics

About Rubrics

by Katherine Baeckeroot

Rubrics are tools for assessing a learner’s work and their level of achievement. Rubrics contain criteria to evaluate submissions and determine how well or how poorly the learner performed. Instructors can use rubrics to grade projects, assignments, papers, reports, and many other types of submissions. They can also be provided to learners in advance to use as a guide for creating high-quality work.

Types of Rubrics

There are two primary types of rubrics:

  • Analytical rubrics
  • Holistic rubrics

Analytical Rubrics

Analytical rubrics are used to evaluate a learner’s submission based on several criteria. Analytical rubrics are organized in a matrix, where the criteria to be evaluated are listed in the first column and the levels of achievement (such as poor, average, good, and excellent or numerical values) are listed in the top row. The remaining cells in the matrix represent the level of achievement for each criterion.

Graphic of an analytical rubric

This type of rubric is especially useful when you have several criteria that must be analyzed and evaluated individually.

Holistic Rubrics

Unlike analytical rubrics, holistic rubrics do not break down the qualities of an assignment and analyze them individually. In holistic rubrics, all criteria required to reach a certain level of achievement are combined and evaluated together as a whole unit, which allows you to assess how well the learner performed overall. Learners are then assigned a level of achievement based on how well they performed.

For example, the levels of achievement in a holistic rubric might include:

  • Exceeds expectations
  • Meets expectations
  • Partially meets expectations
  • Doesn't meet expectations

Each achievement level contains a description indicating what the learner must do or demonstrate to earn that level of achievement.

Graphic of a holistic rubric

This type or rubric is useful if there is an overlap in criteria and it’s not possible to separate and evaluate the criteria individually.

For more information about rubrics, see Create a Rubric.

References

Rubrics: Useful Assessment Tools. Centre for Teaching Excellence. (2020, May 13). https://uwaterloo.ca/centre-for-teaching-excellence/teaching-resources/teaching-tips/assessing-student-work/grading-and-feedback/rubrics-useful-assessment-tools.

Types of Rubrics. Teaching Commons | DePaul University. (n.d.). https://resources.depaul.edu/teaching-commons/teaching-guides/feedback-grading/rubrics/Pages/types-of-rubrics.aspx.

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