Picture of two students looking at a computer screen. Picture of a professor with a computer teaching a small group of students. Picture of a student working at a laptop.

Assessment Strategies: Rubrics, Rubistar

Introduction

Although students expect to receive grades on projects or papers, the reasoning behind those grades remains elusive to many. As a result, students do not have the opportunity to learn and improve from a grade. However, students do benefit and learn from faculty feedback. Often, the connection between a professor's comments and the grade is not clear to a student. A useful way to explicitly connect feedback with a student's grade on an assessment is through the use of rubrics.

The Universal Design principle of Perceptible Information (instruction is designed so that necessary information is communicated effectively to the student) can be realized through the use of rubrics. Rubrics describe those criteria that will be used in assessing a student's assignment and explain how different levels of that criterion can be realized.

 

Please click below for an audio introduction to Using Rubrics.

 

Instructions on How to Use Rubrics

An example of a first year writing rubric is available at: http://www.tcnj.edu/~writing/documents/firstyear.doc

This rubric uses the following as grading criteria: Claim, Logic & Organization, Audience, Evidence, Citations, and Control of Language.

For each of these criteria, the rubric describes different levels of proficiency expressed as a grade from A-D. For example, the criterion, Evidence, is explained at each level of proficiency in this way:

Grades
A B C D
ample, relevant, concrete evidence and persuasive support for every debatable assertion; uses multiple, reliable sources which are assessed critically relevant, concrete evidence and persuasive support for most debatable assertions; uses multiple or reliable sources which are not always assessed critically merely adequate evidence and support for most assertions; uses single or multiple sources, which may be unreliable and used uncritically weak evidence and persuasive support; uses limited source(s), and/or relies predominantly on sweeping generalizations, narration, description, or summary

Across all of the criteria, students can see the relative strengths and weaknesses in their writing and can use this information to improve it.

For help with creating rubrics, higher education instructors can use Rubistar (http://rubistar.4teachers.org/). Please click here to download a pdf version of the instructional guide to Rubistar.

Technical Requirements and Where to Access Rubistar

No specific hardware or software is required to use Rubistar. The software does not require a download to your computer.

Go to http://rubistar.4teachers.org to access Rubistar to create a rubric.

Other Online Rubric Maker Tools:

While these tools are focused on meeting the needs of K-12 educators, they serve as an excellent starting place for ideas on how to organize or create rubrics:

Rubric Resources

This site is particularly helpful for higher education instructors and provides links to other sites designed for higher education instructors looking to create rubrics:

http://www.tcnj.edu/~writing/faculty/rubrics.html

 

Reviews

Every e-Tool in the e-Toolbox was reviewed by either a UDI Online Project research and design team member, or one or several faculty at five partner institutions who incorporated a specific e-Tool into an online or blended course they taught. Faculty from these partner institutions also requested that students review the e-Tool included in a course or products created through the use of the e-Tool (e.g., documents, videos, audio clips, or other items). Likert scale surveys with open-ended questions were used by respondents.  Feedback from the reviewing UDI Online team member or faculty who used a tool is presented in addition to student ratings when available.

 

e-Tool Review Results

Faculty e-Tool Review Results
Number of faculty reviewers: 4

1. The e-tool was easy to incorporate into my course.

Picture-75% of reviewers strongly agreed that this e-tool was easy to incorporate into their course.  25% of reviewers agreed that this e-tool was easy to incorporate into their course.

2. I used the e-tool to address the following: (Select all that apply).

Picture-100% of reviewers used this e-tool to state and explain course requirements. 100% of reviewers used this e-tool to facilitate communication with and between students.  75% of reviewers used this e-tool to allow students to demonstrate mastery of content.

3. Do you think the e-tool exemplified the construct of UDI within your course?
(UDI is defined as an approach to teaching that consists of the proactive design and use of inclusive instructional strategies that benefit a broad range of learners including students with disabilities.)

picture-100% of rev iewers strongly agreed that this e-tool exemplified the construct of universal design for instruction in their course.

4. Please comment on the benefits of using the e-tool in your course.

  • Using a rubric makes me a fairer teacher and helps the students know what to reach for, as well as what the parameters of an assignment are. It eases anxiety.
  • Students gain traction over material.
  • Clear criteria by which to assess students and their learning
  • Excellent guidance to students about what they are being asked to accomplish in an assignment.

5. Please comment on the drawbacks of using the e-tool in your course.

No responses were entered for this question.

6. I will use the e-tool in another course.

Picture -100% of reviewers would use this e-tool in another course.

7. In the future, I will use the e-tool to address the following: (Select all that apply)

Picture-100% of reviewers will this e-tool in the future to state and explain course requirements. 100% of reviewers will this e-tool in the future to facilitate communication with and between students.  50% of reviewers will this e-tool in the future to allow students to demonstrate mastery of content.


 

Student e-Tool Review Results

Number of students who took the survey: 12

 

 

 

1. The tool was easy to use.

Picture of the result of 

2. The tool assisted me with the following: (Select all that apply)

 Picture of result of how the tool assist me

 

3. Please comment on the benefits of using the tool in the course.

  • it told me what my paper needed to get a good grade very helpful
  • It was nice to know what’s expected.  
  • great way to know what requirements were - you could always go back and look at it

4. Please comment on any drawbacks of using the tool.


  • nothing really