Rubrics are usually discussed as an evaluation tool, and they will help you move from unstated criteria (“It feels like a B”) to more explicit criteria and from norm-referenced (grading on a curve) to criterion-referenced scoring (grading based on defined standards and characteristics) scoring. Clarifying standards and expectations will save you time during the grading (and complaining) process, but it is also an important way to enhance learning.
When a rubric is made part of the instructions for an assignment, it provides a guide to the student. A good rubric should show your students both your criteria and your standards, and putting them into a table ensures that you provide both. Note that with a detailed and specific rubric, the assignment is apparent almost without further instructions (see reverse)
Your criteria (the first column on the left) should indicate your priorities and weights. If a creative thesis is more important than a bibliography, then it should be worth more points. If you do not care about voice, eliminate it from the rubric. Across the top are the standards for each criterion: these can be A, B, C, D, and F, descriptive levels, or percentages. Start by writing standards for the highest level of performance, and keep them high: that gives students a target.
Rubrics are highly personal and they will get better as you use and adjust them, but they will immediately improve the quality of your instructions to students. Students often complain that it takes half the semester to discover what individual faculty want. One of the most common complaints is that a student will use the format, style, or type of writing they learned in an earlier class, and then get a poor grade on the first paper for doing what they thought was rewarded previously. A rubric can give students guidance for the first writing assignment, without having to wait for the grade.
EXAMPLES and READY-MADE RUBRICS:
You can find thousands of rubric templates and examples online.
AACU VALUE Rubrics: http://www.aacu.org/value/abouttherubrics.cfm
Fresno State Rubric Library: http://www.fresnostate.edu/academics/oie/assessment/rubric.html
Bowling Green Rubrics for University Learning Outcomes:http://my.woodbury.edu/SiteDirectory/WRSC/EER/Shared%20Documents/How%20to%20create%20an%20Assessment%20Plan/DevelopingApplyingRubrics_MaryAllen.pdf
University of Hawaii at Manoa Rubric Bank: http://manoa.hawaii.edu/assessment/resources/rubricbank.htm
Persuasive Essay Sell Assessment Rubric Harvard Project Zero: http://www.pz.harvard.edu/research/RubricsSelfPE.htm
RESOURCES and INSTRUCTIONS for Rubrics:
National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment: http://www.learningoutcomesassessment.org/publications.html
University of Hawaii at Manoa How to Make a Rubric: http://manoa.hawaii.edu/assessment/howto/rubrics.htm
College of New Jersey: http://www.tcnj.edu/~writing/faculty/rubrics.html
Susan Lieberman Slide Presentation on How to Make A College Rubric: http://www.slideshare.net/TeachCollege/rubrics-for-college-the-easy-steps-way
Bernie Dodge: http://webquest.org/sdsu/webquestrubric.html
TWO GOOD RUBRIC TOOLS:
You can probably also create a rubric in your LMS, and maybe even use it for speedy online grading.