Creating effective rubrics is about communicating expectations to students. Rubrics are assessment tools that not only help instructors grade writing but also help students understand what their instructors are looking for in their final products. That is not to say that rubrics limit creativity or innovation. A well-constructed rubric will guide while allowing for individuality in student performance. Good rubrics are not formulas; they are objectives that can be completed in a variety of ways.
Communicating Expectations to Students
- Guide and give choices – Rubrics are more than a checklist. They are there to provide structure both to student work and to instructor assessment. Rubrics should be a range of possible performances for the assignment.
- Involve students – Use class time to talk through the assignment. Show and model multiple ways for completing the task (previous student work, for example). Have students give input on the criteria for evaluation based on their knowledge of the assignment, the genre, and the modeled work.
- Keep the writing attached to the thinking – While well-constructed rubrics are open to multiple ways of thinking, genre conventions (professional language, appropriate organization, effective use of evidence, or critical analysis) should still be considered and assessed.