Assessment: Assessment Basics
A rubric is a guide that describes the criteria that will be used to score or grade an assignment. A rubric identifies the traits that are important and describes the levels of performance (e.g., unacceptable to excellent) within each of the traits.
- Clarify for student the expectations for an assignment.
- Reduce bias and improve consistency in scoring.
- Communicate to students both their strengths and weaknesses.
- Assist faculty in determining which (student) skills are well-developed and which skills require improvement.
Below you will find a variety of sample rubrics. Some of the rubrics provided are still "works in progress." Furthermore, in order for a rubric to be useful, it should be tailored to meet the needs and outcomes of the specific course or program. Therefore, please feel free to adapt the sample rubrics to meet your specific needs. If you need help designing a rubric, please contact any of the Assessment Office staff members.
Rubistar is a free tool intended to help faculty design rubrics. Rubistar allows users to identify general content areas for the rubric as well as specific learning outcomes. Rubistar then provides appropriate rubric categories based on the learning outcomes identified.
for a Descriptive Rubric (PDF)
Adapted from: Stevens, D. D., & Levi, A. J. (2005). Introduction to Rubrics: An assessment tool to save grading time, convey effective feedback and promote student learning. Sterling, Va: Stylus Publishing, LLC. The sample text is from the Elaborated Washington State University Critical Thinking Rubric.
for a Rating Scale Rubric (PDF)
Adapted from: Stevens, D. D., & Levi, A. J. (2005). Introduction to Rubrics: An assessment tool to save grading time, convey effective feedback and promote student learning. Sterling, Va: Stylus Publishing, LLC.
The VALUE project involves creating assessment mechanisms based on multiple expert judgments rather than standardized tests. Over the last two years, over 100 experts in various disciplines have generated rubrics for all of the Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP) learning outcomes. Those rubrics are now available on the website. The rubrics are intended for institutional level assessment and can be adapted to fit particular contexts (including courses or programs).
Critical Thinking (ACT) Project at Miami University's Liberal Education office
Faculty participants worked in teams of 3-4 to design and conduct an assessment of critical thinking in one of their courses. As part of this project, faculty developed and used a critical thinking rubric. The ACT webpage provides critical thinking rubrics that have been adapted to fit a variety of disciplines.
This rubric, which closely models the Washington State Critical Thinking rubric, includes additional criteria for comparing and contrasting multiple perspectives. (Social Sciences)
Criteria for Assessing Creativity Process (PDF)
Lindstrom, L. (2006). Creativity: What is it? Can you assess it? Can it be taught? The International Journal of Art and Design Education, 25(1),53-66.
Washington State University (WSU) Critical Thinking
This rubric, which was adapted from the WSU rubric, provides more elaborated explanations of the criteria associated with the WSU rubric.
Critical Thinking Rubric (PDF)
This rubric is a modified version of the WSU Critical Thinking Rubric and was adapted to assess critical thinking in the Natural Sciences.
for Better Thinking/Washington State University (WSU)
Critical Thinking Rubric (PDF)
This rubric, which is based on the WSU Critical Thinking Rubric, applies a cognitive development perspective to students' critical thinking. The rubric identifies students' critical thinking skills as they move from lower-level to higher-level thought processes.
State University (WSU) Critical Thinking Rubric (PDF)
The WSU critical thinking rubric identifies seven specific critical thinking outcomes (e.g., "Identifies and summarizes the problem/question at issue") and related criteria. Additional details on the WSU Critical Thinking Project can be found on their website.
This rubric provides guidelines and criteria for conducting an "action project," in which students are expected to design and implement an intervention for a specified problem. (Social Sciences)
This rubric provides guidelines and criteria for conducting an "action project," in which students are expected to identify a problem and design an intervention for the problem. (Social Sciences)
This rubric provides guidelines for a paper in which students must apply use theories to analyze real-world issues and problems. (Social Sciences)
This rubric was designed to provide guidelines for conducting and writing a literature review. (Social Sciences)
This rubric provides criteria for assessing a research proposal. (Social Sciences)
This rubric provides criteria for assessing the final report for a completed research project. (Social Sciences)
Inquiry Rubric (PDF)
Developed specifically for the Natural Science Departments, this rubric assesses students' ability to engage in scientific inquiry (e.g., to collect, analyze, and reflect upon data).