Dr. Hari Singh
School of Business
Humboldt State University
Discuss history and uses or rubrics.
For critical thinking rubrics can be made
progressively more challenging.
Advance skills require not only evaluation of
information but synthesis of knowledge, and
development of advanced research skills.
Show how rubrics can reduce a variety of problems.
Creating a roadmap that develops consensus among
faculty, reduce student complaints, and can be a
basis for assessment.
A rubric is a mechanism or tool for developing an
evaluation scale across different dimensions.
Most rubrics are analytical: they decompose a skill
or subject into key dimensions or traits.
Each component can be evaluated separately.
A rubric is a tool and it can obviously be misused.
Rubrics are criticized for resulting in excessive
rigidity or inhibiting innovation.
The important thing is to ensure that the tool is
effective and flexible.
In the early part of the twentieth century,
rubrics were constructed to develop writing
Objective measurement of student writing on
some scale that could by applied uniformly
across classes and instructors.
Top Down: Earlier rubrics were developed
typically at universities and applied by school
The goal was trying to ensure more
consistency and sometimes resulted in
excessive standardization.
* Historical development of rubrics violated the “the
law of distal diminishment”.
* Any tool developed for effective teaching becomes
less useful (potentially more harmful) if it
originates far away from the class room.
* Students and teachers should provide input on a
continuous basis for the construction and
modification of rubrics.
* An iterative process: Experience from the
classroom provides relevant feedback for
developing a more nuanced rubric.
Rubric should not become rigid straight jackets
that reduce flexibility and creativity.
A rubric is merely a classifying device.
The key issue is what is classified and what type
of consistency is derived from it.
The consistency should be about the
performance thresholds of the student learning
Performance thresholds should allow
flexibility in different pedagogical styles,
different teaching delivery methods, and
innovative ways encouraging student learning.
Striving for consistency in evaluating student
learning outcomes is fully consistent with
allowing and encouraging different teaching
styles and methods.
Lack of consensus among faculty about the
specific types of performance thresholds.
Lack of consistency of academic standards for
these performance thresholds across Classes.
Inadequate transparency of grading students for
different thresholds.
More student complaints because threshold
performance level is not transparent and
communicated clearly to students.
Difficulty in assessing student learning outcomes
(SLO) consistently.
Constructing a rubric encourages teachers to develop a
consensus about the key learning goals of the course.
As Callison (2000; P. 31) states, “Rubrics are texts that
are the visible signs of agreed upon values. They cannot
contain all the nuances of the evaluation community’s
values, but they do contain the central expression of
those values.”
Facilitate communication between students, teachers
and other stakeholders by providing a context for these
discussions to take place.
Callison, D. (2000). Rubrics. School Library Media
Activities Monthly. 17 (2), 34-36, 42.
Popham (2003) points out that a well constructed rubric
can help students to understand more clearly the
expectations of instructors.
The transparency that rubrics provide for ranking,
ratings, and grades can make the teaching process more
meaningful for students
Provide a set of stackable skills that can be made
progressively more difficult.
Greater transparency will result in less complains by
students .
Popham, W.J. (2003). Test better, teach better: The instructional role of assessment. Alexandria, VA:
Association for supervision and curriculum development.
Bresciani et al. (2004) point out that well developed rubrics
can serve as effective and transparent norms to bring
expectations of faculty and students for a consistent vision.
Increases consistency in class standards so that similar
student expectations are applied across different classes of
the same course.
Rubrics can be progressively benchmarked at higher levels.
Progressively increase the challenge and difficulty of critical
thinking in subsequent courses so that complex learning skills
can be mastered.
Rubrics can provide a transparent and clear roadmap for a
ratcheting up the standards across a sequence of courses.
Bresciani, M.J., Zelna, C.L., & Anderson, J.A. (2004) Assessing student learning and
development: A Handbook for practitioners. National Association of Student
personnel Administrators.
The consistency of learning goals and a detailed
roadmap of how to assess the goals is a key
It reduces the subjective component of grading
(Moskal, 2000).
Rubrics help identify specific weak points to
strengthen the overall chain of learning.
Moskal, B.M. (2000) Scoring rubrics: What, when and how? Practical
Assessment research and Evaluation, 7 (3).
Time line should allow a pilot run.
Find champions among faulty for classes where
goals can be tested.
Bad results don’t reflect on instructors.
Typically assessment should be towards the end
of the program.
However, a pre-test at the onset of the program
is useful.
Form an Assessment Group which includes all
disciplines\skill areas.
Students perceptions about learning are less
Student outcomes of learning can be based on
class assignments.
Benchmarking learning thresholds is useful.
Instructors, students, and assessors need a
common consensus.
A well constructed rubric is a good vehicle for
achieving clarity and consensus among all
Identifying 5 or 6 dimensions to be
tested (use student feedback)
Deciding 5 thresholds for each
dimension (use student feedback)
How to scale each dimension?
Examples of rubrics that work well
Discussion among participants with
rubric examples