Part 10: Fall 2019 Labs

185 Rubrics for Better Grading 08.30.2019

On August 30, 2019 the Active Teaching Lab welcomed campus instructors and staff to explore the intricacies (and challenges) of crafting and implementing rubrics in the classroom. Often the bane of instructors, grading can be a much simpler task when assignments are designed and supported with rubrics. As a bonus, students have a clearer understanding of what they’re supposed to learn! This Active Teaching Lab explored examples and techniques for simplifying assignments and grading.​


  • Assess what’s important: Identify the desired learning outcomes of the assignment and design performance criteria that assesses student performance in relationship to these course goals and objectives using clear and simple language. For example, if formatting is not a key component of understanding the concept, make it a lower value.
  • Design: Determine the type of rubric, categories and levels of completion, and distinct attributes of each level. See this Pressbooks eText on Developing Rubrics with interactive H5P content created by the excellent TeachOnline@UW program!
  • Build outside of Canvas: Rubric-building and editing in Canvas is clunky, work in Google Sheets or Excel then move to Canvas.
  • Share with students: Give rubrics to students with assignments and/or involve them in rubric creation or adaptation. After, involve them in identifying what worked, what was missing, and what was confusing. Revise accordingly.

For more information visit the session’s activity sheet.


The Active Teaching Lab is a Faculty Engagement program with sessions held on Wednesdays from 1:00-2:00pm and Fridays from 8:30-9:45am in the Middleton Building (1305 Linden Dr.), room 120. Check out upcoming Labs or read the recaps from past Labs. We build interdisciplinary conversations that are more emergent than a presenter and more dynamic than a panel — a conversation with colleagues sharing challenges, solutions, and experiments on topics selected by a variety of stakeholders.

Sign up for regular Lab announcements by sending an email to


Active Teaching Lab eJournal Copyright © 2016 by DoIT Academic Technology and the UW-Madison Teaching Academy; Jennifer Hornbaker; John Martin; Julie Johnson; Karin Spader; Margaret Merrill; Margaret Murphy; and Jeffrey Thomas. All Rights Reserved.

Share This Book