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Mobile Learning: Rubrics

Rubrics 101

What is a Rubric?

A rubric is most often thought of as a tool that defines specific criteria used for grading essays, projects, test, etc. It defines “quality.” For instance, the criteria for a specific project might include purpose, organization, mechanics, and components. 



What is the purpose of a rubric?

A rubric has two important purposes. For teachers, a rubric  

  • is used as a scoring criteria for assignments.
  • reduces grading time and provides the explanation of why a student’s work received a certain grade.

For students, the rubric

  • defines what is expected of the students in order to get a particular grade on a specific assignment.
  • provides students the criteria so they know exactly what they need to do to be successful or improve performance on an assignment or assessment.

Why are rubrics important?

Rubrics are important because:

  • They provide clarification on what qualities students’ work should have.
  • They provide students a learning target and define the criteria for success.
  • Effectively designed rubrics will also help teachers coordinate the instruction and assessment which assist students in learning the content. 

How do I create a rubric?

There are four essential steps to writing an effective rubric.

  • First, determine the criteria that will be used to assess the assignment. The criteria should support the learning objectives for the lesson.
  • Next, determine the performance levels. These can be descriptors such as Above Proficient, Proficient, Below Proficient. Numbers or point values can also be assigned for each level.
  • Next, and perhaps the most time consuming part of the process, is writing the descriptions for each performance level. Begin by writing the best and worst levels, and then fill in the center levels. Constructing the descriptions is time consuming but critical. Make sure you clearly articulate what makes student work more effective versus what makes it less successful.
  • The final step in creating a rubric is to put it in use. Well-constructed performance levels and descriptors on a rubric should simplify grading. However, after using the rubric the first time, you may find areas that need improvement. Make the changes, and continue to evaluate and revise as needed.