Using Rubrics in Your Course Assessments

Close up look at A Plus on paper with red pen

Assessment of student work can be difficult, especially if there is a subjective nature to the grade you are giving.  Making grading clearer is one way that rubrics can help both you, and your students.  

If you are unsure of how a rubric works, I wanted to share with you this 8-1/2 minute video from the University of Alberta Centre for Teaching and Learning.  This video does a very good job explaining rubrics and gives you an understanding of the following:

  • What is a rubric? (00:52)
  • What types of rubrics exist (1:08)
  • Creating an effective rubric (3:13)
  • Creating rubric criteria (4:47), and
  • When should students interact with the rubric? (6:02)

Now that you know more about rubrics, let’s look at how to add a rubric to your Blackboard course. 

The format that Blackboard defaults to is an Analytic Rubric.  If you would rather use a Holistic Rubric, you can easily make this change by deleting two of the three columns in the default Blackboard rubric.  Some students prefer a Holistic Rubric, because it describes what needs to be achieved in the assignment.

Create a Rubric in Blackboard

Here is a 1 minute video on how to create a rubric in Blackboard:

Adding a Rubric to Graded Course Work

Here is a 1 minute, 30 second video showing how to link your rubric to your course’s gradable content items (assignments, discussion forums, journals, blogs, or wikis).  When you set up your rubric, remember to make the rubric visible before the students start their work.  (The default is to have it hidden).

Grade Using a Rubric

Once you have the Rubric associated with a graded item, you can actually use it for grading.  The following one minute video shows you how to grade student work using the rubric you created.

As you can see, using a rubric in your course can really help you in evaluating and grading your student’s work.  Just make sure that your descriptions are specific and measurable!!

A huge advantage with using rubrics is that, prior to starting the assignment, your students know exactly what they need to do to achieve the outcomes you are looking for.  The rubric is something they can refer back to, giving them the best chance at success.  Attaching a rubric eliminates guess work by the student, and should also reduce questions you might receive as students work on the graded item.  Rubrics give students a clear learning target!

Also, If you pay attention to your course objectives while creating your rubrics, this also ensures that these objectives are met and that you have not gotten off track.  

I hope you will consider using rubrics (if you are not already doing so).  Thank you for reading the Faculty Learning Corner, and have a great weekend!