../Images/btn_assessment_over.gif Classroom Interactions Attitude Surveys


A. Defining Performance Targets and Tasks
B. Creating a Rubric
C. Building Student Portfolios


B. Creating a Rubric

Authentic, performance-based learning is a great way to make learning meaningful to students and to encourage them to be creative, innovative, and constructive.  However, assessing student projects can sometimes be a problem because there is no clear-cut answer or solution.  For this reason, rubrics have become increasingly popular.

Most rubrics consist of objectives, performance characteristics, and points or scores that indicate the degree to which the objectives were met.  Rubrics should be introduced to the students at the very beginning of a project unit -- either present the rubric to the class or collaborate with the students to structure the rubric.   Rubrics allow students to understand the criteria for assessment before they start the project. Rubrics also help to make the evaluation of the project more objective and consistent. To view the process of creating a rubric with a student, watch the video Assessing Project-Based Work from the Edutopia website (

Assessing Project Based Work:

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There are three basic categories of rubrics for performance assessment: checklists, rating scales, and holistic scoring (Kubiszyn & Borich, 2003). Each category has advantages, disadvantages, and appropriate applications for classrooms.


Checklists contain a list of behaviors or specific steps, which can be marked as Present/Absent, Complete/Incomplete, Yes /No, etc. In some cases, a teacher will use a checklist to observe the students. In other cases, students use checklists to ensure that they have completed all of the steps and considered all of the possibilities. For example, the checklist at the Blue Rubric from the Center for Technology in Learning is an observation checklist a teacher could use to assess students' science experiments. Whereas, the Multimedia Mania Checklist is designed for self-assessment by students. 

Checklists help to provide structure for students and they are great tools to use when you want to note the completion of a task, but do not need to assign a rating scale. Checklists can be created in word processors, spreadsheets, or by using online tools such as the Checklist Maker at Project-Based Learning. Here's a note about the Checklist Maker:

Completing class projects can be fun for your students, especially if they know exactly what is needed. Creating guidelines can be time-consuming though, so we've made a way for you to do it in no time! To make a project checklist for your students, first choose the grade level for the type of project you want your students to do. You can choose from writing, presentation, multimedia, or science projects. On the next page, choose from our list of project guidelines, and make a checklist with the touch of a button! (

Rubrics with Rating Scales

Rubrics with rating scales are very popular and effective for performance assessment.  Rating scales are used when a simple Yes/No or Present/Absent is not adequate for measuring the performance or product. The scales can include terms (such as novice, intermediate, and proficient), and they might include specific point values.

Follow these steps to create a rubric with a rating scale:

  1. Select  the performance target (based on your objectives or standards)
  2. Define the performance task (outline all expectations)
  3. Determine the dimensions that will be assessed. For example, if you are creating a rubric for assessing a research paper, you might evaluate the research, content, mechanics, and style.  
  4. For each of the dimensions, identify at least three different "degrees" of performance. The more detail you can include, the better. For example, if one dimension is "research" the degrees might include: Exemplary=at least 5 sources; Intermediate=at least 3 sources; and Novice=less than 3 sources.
  5. Assign points (numbers) and/or words (e.g., novice, intermediate, proficient) as the scale to evaluate the learning outcomes.
  6. Add a column to record the score for each dimension, as well as a row for the total score.
  7. Distribute copies of the rubric to students when they begin the task -- that way they will know exactly how they will be assessed.
1 = Novice
2 = Intermediate
3 = Exemplary
Less than 3 reputable resources are cited At least 3 reputable resources are cited At least 5 reputable resources are cited  
Content is incomplete and inaccurate Content is accurate, but incomplete  Content is accurate and complete   
More than four spelling, grammar, or punctuation errors are included Three or four spelling, grammar, or punctuation errors are included Less than three spelling, grammar, or punctuation errors are included  
Events jump around, start and end are unclear Events are somewhat jumpy Events are logically ordered, sharp sense of beginning and end  

Sample Rubric with Rating Scale

The power of rubrics should not be underestimated. They are extremely effective for many classroom activities, including assessments of essays, oral presentations, group projects, and other assignments.

Holistic Scoring

Sometimes a rubric is scored holistically, meaning there is one overall score instead of discrete dimensions. For example, the short response items for FCAT Reading and Mathematics are scored holistically on a 0-2 scale (see below). The extended responses are scored on a 0-4 scale.

The response indicates that the student has a complete understanding of the reading concept embodied in the task. The student has provided a response that is accurate, complete, and fills all the requirements of the task. Necessary support and or examples are included, and the information is clearly text-based.
The response indicates that the student has a partial understanding of the reading concept embodied in the task. The student has provided a response that includes information that is essentially correct and text-based, but the information is too general or too simplistic. Some of the support and/or examples and requirements of the task may be incomplete or embedded.
The response is inaccurate, confused, and/or irrelevant, or the student has failed to respond to the task.

Holistic Rubric for FCAT Reading Short Responses.

Holistic scales are used when one, overall score is more important than sub-scores for specific categories. Holistic scales are often used for performances, such as dance or music. Although holistic scales can be easier to create and easier to score, they do not provide the amount of feedback that is possible with a rating scale that includes multiple dimensions.



Try This

Visit the following site.  You should be familiar with the advantages of rubrics, different formats of rubrics, and essential components of rubrics.  


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This course was developed in partnership between the Pinellas School
and the Florida Center for Instructional Technology at USF.

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