Designing Rubrics

Benefits of Rubrics

What are the upsides to designing rubrics for your students?
  • By explaining what a “poor” demonstration of a certain skill looks like, rubrics help students avoid common pitfalls.
  • Rubrics also help to clarify expectations. Studies show that even just distributing and explaining a rubric can lead to higher student scores.
  • Rubrics help students identify their own strengths and weaknesses within and across papers.
  • Students provided with rubrics report less anxiety about the writing process, and they perceive grades they receive on an assignment with a rubric as fairer than those assigned without one.
  • Rubrics produce better papers. Students use rubrics for a guide when drafting & revising, and are more likely to produce essays that meet the learning goals of the assignment.
  • Designing a rubric can help you design stronger assignments. Sometimes the process of assigning value to different components of an assignment can encourage you to clarify or streamline your prompt.
  • Rubrics standardize grades and help students understand where their writing grades come from. They also facilitate minimal marking, since you’ve already established your priorities.
  • Rubrics save time when grading. Although rubrics require an initial time investment to design, they can be reused semester after semester, and they provide a quick, consistent way to provide students with substantive feedback on their writing.



Andrade, Heidi and Ying Du. “Student Perspectives on Rubric-Referenced Assessment.”Practical Assessment, Research, and Evaluation 10.3 (2005). Web. 1 June 2014.

Hafner, John and Patti Hafner. “Quantitative analysis of the rubric as an assessment tool: an empirical study of student peer‐group rating.” International Journal of Science Education 25.12 (2003): 1509-1528.

Schafer, W.D, et al. “Effects of teacher knowledge of rubrics on student achievement in four content areas.“ Applied Measurement in Education 14.2 (2001): 151-170.