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Module Ten: Creating Rubrics
 
Although creating a rubric may seem like a daunting task at first, knowing the right procedures will ease your frustration and hasten the process. At the end, you will be able to produce a final product that is both effective and concise. 
You can create rubrics in many different ways: starting from scratch, adapting existing rubrics, and online rubric generators. When you plan to create rubrics from the scratch, apply the following general structure.
Create Your Own
Step one  
Map out the learning objectives (criteria) that you want the students to achieve.
  • Think about the purposes of the assignment. Let us say a student has to create and present a PowerPoint presentation. Some objectives could be the quality of Power Point, eye contact, gestures, preparedness. 
  • Analyze which objectives are directly correlated with one another. Can these objectives be combined into just a generalized one? For example eye contact and gestures can be combined into the objective of nonverbal communication.
Step two  
Figure out a scale that you want to use (either numerical or qualitative, or a combination of both) and the range associated with it.
  • Make the scale based on the grading scheme for the course. Experts advise to have a strict number or letter at each performance level rather than a range of 90-100 or A- to A+ as the latter could bring about ambiguity when grading.  
Experts Answer Questions
How do I know what point values to assign to each performance criteria? (Mueller, 2002)
If you prefer text to audio, click here for answer
Step three  
Construct a table that provides an intersection between the learning objectives and the performance scale.
  • Put the learning objectives down the left most column and put each level of the performance scale across the topmost row. This table will provide students with a clear and concise structure for each assignment.
Experts Answer Questions
Do I need to have the same number of levels of performance for reach criterion within a rubric? (Mueller, 2002)
If you prefer text to audio, click here for answer
Step four  
Input characteristics (quality definitions) at each intersection to clarify the expectations.
  • These quality definitions are similar to a check sheet. For example, the learning objective of preparedness at the performance level of A. Were there fewer than three awkward pauses during the presentation? Were there fewer than 10 filler words?  During the presentation was the student able to answer all the questions from their peers correctly? If the student was able to accomplish all these tasks, he/she gets that performance level for that objective. 
Experts Answer Questions
Do I need to add quality definitions to each level of performance? (Mueller, 2002)
If you prefer text to audio, click here for answer
Adapt Existing Rubrics
Constructing rubrics from scratch is time consuming so you might prefer to use or adapt an existing rubric. In the next section Examples of Rubrics, you will find rubric banks that can be accessed online.  The steps for adapting existing rubrics are similar to the creating rubrics.  After listing the learning objectives for the specific assignment and finding a potential rubric, you examine the criteria of existing rubrics to determine if they reflect the skills you want. Then, check the levels of performance as well as the quality of description and make sure that they clearly describe the different levels of ability for each criterion.  You can revise, remove, and add criteria, levels of performance, and description as needed.
Online Rubric Generator

Rather than using pen and paper to create rubrics, some instructors have used technology to create and share rubrics quickly and easily.  You can use one of the following software to create rubrics from the scratch or from the template provided with the program.

Registered users can save and edit rubrics online. Registration and use of the tool is free. For a small annual charge, you can start with a blank rubric, modify an existing one you have previously developed, or start from one of the templates.
 
Since creating a rubric has quite a bit of flexibility, the most important aspect is not the structure but the quality. As noted on DePaul University’s website, regardless of creating a rubric from scratch or modifying an existing one, you should ask these five questions in order to evaluate the quality of a rubric both before and after using the rubric.
  1. Does the rubric relate to the outcome(s) being measured?
  2. Does it cover important criteria for student performance?
  3. Does the top end of the rubric reflect excellence?
  4. Are the criteria and level of performance evaluations well defined?
  5. Can the rubric be applied consistently by different scorers?
 
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