What Is a Grading Rubric? - Definition, Uses & Examples

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  • 0:01 Straightforward Grading
  • 0:40 What Is a Rubric?
  • 1:42 Uses of Rubrics
  • 2:56 Rubrics in Lower…
  • 3:44 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kevin Newton

Kevin has edited encyclopedias, taught middle and high school history, and has a master's degree in Islamic law.

As an educator, wouldn't you appreciate a path that would make grading assignments easier, as well as showing students exactly what requires improvement? If that's what you are seeking, then rubrics could be the answer.

Straightforward Grading

As an educator, coming up with an effective grading policy is a crucial part of your job. After all, grades are not just a percentage of mastery but also provide some guidance on places for students to improve. However, despite notes and point deductions written on the same problem that incurred them, wouldn't it be nice if there was a simple way for students to quickly gaze at a piece of paper and instantly understand why they earned a certain grade? Also, for those who teach more subjective fields, wouldn't it be nice to have a way of being able to both arrive at a certain grade for a certain level of work, as well as be able to defend that mark? Luckily, grading rubrics provide just such a mechanism for teachers to do all of these things.

What Is a Rubric?

At its core, a rubric is little more than a list of how an assignment will be marked. Point values for each part of the assignment and maximum values that can be earned are displayed. Many teachers find themselves in a position where a student excels at one point of the assignment but misses the rest of it entirely. With a rubric, it can be clear why said student received a given grade.

Good rubrics not only display how many points are assigned to each part of the assignment but also provide some explanation as to how the grader will reach the final point value for each blank on the rubric. For example, if grammar is worth ten points on an assignment, it could be as simple as stating that each grammatical error will result in the loss of one point of the ten. Conversely, if content is worth 30 points, more detailed explanations can be given for point values awarded at 10, 20, and 30-point intervals.

Uses of Rubrics

Given the amount of preparation needed to prepare a rubric, it is not surprising that many educators choose not to use them for every class work assignment. Instead, rubrics really find their home on more long-term projects, especially research papers and science projects. For many students, these are high-stakes assignments, which can help determine a grade for an entire term. For teachers, the sheer size of such work can make it difficult to grade without a roadmap in mind. A rubric can serve as a roadmap. Further, it allows students to double check their work according to the rubric, permitting them to maximize their own work in order to gain the highest grade possible.

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