TeachOnline@UW: Rubrics – Advantages and Best Practices

Why Use Rubrics?

Rubrics can help improve student performance by making instructors’ expectations clear and by showing students how to meet those expectations. The result is often marked improvements in the quality of student learning. Thus, the most common argument for using rubrics is that they help define “quality.”

Rubrics also help students become more thoughtful judges of the quality of their own and others’ work. When rubrics are used to guide self- and peer-assessment, students develop the ability to spot and solve problems in their work.

Rubrics that are completed with comments can provide students with more informative feedback about their strengths and areas to improve. They also add fairness to the assessment process, helping students to understand why they received a particular grade, score, or rating. Studies have found that students feel rubrics clarify expectations and are especially useful as they prepare assignments.

Rubrics take time to develop, but they make it easier to judge student work and provide feedback over the long-run. If developed well, they can reduce the amount of time evaluating student work.

Write feedback for each level of performance for a rubric in advance that can be pre-inserted in digital rubrics or pasted into a document version of a rubric. This feedback can be tailored to each student, if preferable, or link to the assignment guidelines for more explanation of how to achieve the assignment criteria requirements.

UW-Madison instructors discuss how they use rubrics

Watch Video

  • Mark Edgar, Population Health Sciences, School of Medicine and Public Health
  • Jennifer Gipson, Professor of French, College of Letters and Science
  • Evelyn Howell, professor and chair, Landscape Architecture
  • Doug Hadley, senior lecturer, Landscape Architecture


Rubrics: Advantages and Best Practices Copyright © by Karen Skibba. All Rights Reserved.