What Rubrics Are, When to Use Them
A rubric is a matrix that defines what students need to do to fulfill different levels of achievement for an activity. Rubrics make your expectations clear and help you grade more quickly. Also, students learn from rubrics and use them for peer reviews.
Rubrics become most useful when you attach them to activities, such as Grade items, Dropbox folders, and Discussion topics.
This page gives an overview of Pilot’s Rubrics tool and explains the differences between holistic and analytic rubrics.
Videos: Rubrics Playlist
List of Videos in Playlist
To see individual videos in this playlist,
- click the icon in the top left corner of the video or…
- go to the YouTube Playlist page for Rubrics.
When to Use Rubrics
In addition to showing students the criteria you use to assess assignments, Rubrics can guide student peer reviews. Here are a couple examples:
- You want to assess students’ performance based on four criteria: Knowledge and Understanding, Critical Thinking, Communication, and Application of Knowledge. Students may achieve one of four levels for each criteria: Needs Remediation, Below Expectations, Meets Expectations, and Exceeds Expectations. The rubric describes what mastery students must demonstrate to achieve each level of each criterion.
- You want to encourage your course participants to review and comment on each others’ work on an assignment. You create a rubric that allows course participants to evaluate the overall quality of the assignment using the following achievement levels: This Needs Work, Good Start, Nice Example, and Showcase Worthy.
Two Types of Rubrics
When you create a rubric in Pilot, you must choose which type you want. You won’t be able to change its type later. So you’ll want to understand the difference between these two types before you begin.
- A holistic rubric uses one set of levels to assess the whole activity.
- An analytic rubric breaks the assessment into multiple criteria so you can assess each aspect of the activity.
There are also some differences in how levels are scored. Faculty most often choose analytic rubrics because they offer more detailed assessments.
Holistic rubrics assess a student’s overall achievement on an activity, based on predefined achievement levels. They do not break the scoring down into multiple criteria. Holistic rubrics may use percentages or text-only scoring.
85% or more
|The photographer has submitted three sharp, well-composed, high quality photographs that capture the character of the event and place exceptionally well. The photos get in close, show faces and catch honest emotions.|
75% or more
|The photographer adequately met requirements specific to this assignment.|
65% or more
|The requirements were partly met. But the photographer missed some major part of what the assignment is about.|
0% or more
|The photographer has some photos. But they significantly fail to meet the full assignment. The photos may be unrelated to the current assignment or of very poor quality.|
Analytic rubrics have multiple criteria. You assess the level of achievement for each. You may give different weight to each criterion by assigning different values.
Analytic rubrics may use points, custom points, or text-only scoring. Rubrics that use points or custom points may use both text and points to assess performance. With custom points, each criterion may be worth a different number of points. For both points and custom points, Pilot will provide an overall score based on the total number of points achieved.
|Criteria||Well Done||Sufficient||Needs Improvement||Low/No Evidence|
|Coverage, Visual Variety||20 points
The photographer did an exceptional job, trying several solutions to the assignment, exploring each solution in-depth with different angles, distances, composition, etc. When appropriate, photos include overall, medium, and close-up shots.
The photographer made an adequate effort to get the required number of photographs and try some variations on each idea.
The photographer made a minimal effort to get visual variety. A few examples follow: The photographer got fewer than the required number of photos. Some photos are not on topic. Photos seem to have been taken just to pad the count. It’s unclear what the photographer was trying to capture.
Examples: The photographer got far fewer photos than required. Each photo is a completely different subject. There is little or no evidence of having worked an idea.
|Composition: Simplified, Organized, Emphasized, Balanced and Well Lighted||15 points
The photographer did an exceptional job of visually tying together all the elements in the picture to support and empasize the subject. Extraneous details are eliminated and the picture feels appropriately balanced.
The photographer did an adequate job of visually tying together all the elements in the picture to support and empasize the subject. Extraneous details are mostly eliminated and the picture feels appropriately balanced.
The photographer needed to find a different angle, distance or technique to eliminate extraneous details, organize the elements, emphasize the subject or get good lighting. Perhaps one must guess at what the photographer intended.
The photo is unorganized and cluttered with extraneous details. The subject gets lost. The lighting obscures and detracts from the subject.
|Post Processing, Image Quality||10 points
Post processing is exceptionally well handled in Photoshop. It is artfully cropped. Color balance, exposure and contrast bring out the best in the picture. Distracting areas have been tastefully darkened or lightened to enhance the subject.
Post processing has been moderately well handled. Minor adjustments would make a significance difference in the image quality.
Cropping, and other adjustments still need some major work.
Post processing was clearly needed but neglected.
|Overall Score|| Level 4
38 or more
| Level 3
33 or more
26 or more
| Level 1
0 or more
Where to Use Rubrics
Once you have created a rubric, you will need to attach it to an activity in Pilot so students will see it and you can use it to assess assignments.
When you assess an activity with a rubric attached to a grade item, the rubric will pass each student’s score directly to that grade item. Unfortunately, rubrics don’t connect directly to Grades when they are attached to other tools. Even so a rubric may be easiest to use when you place it within the tool where your assignment takes place.