Creating a rubric

A rubric that is used for the assessment of a program’s learning outcomes can be created by either an individual faculty member or by a committee. Once created, it is essential that the majority of the faculty in the program agree that it captures the range of performance on the learning outcome. 

Five steps for creating a rubric:

1.  Identify the learning outcome you are assessing.

  • Example:
    • Outcome: Will give professional quality oral presentations.

2.  Identify the work you will evaluate with the rubric (e.g., paper, presentation, portfolio). The performance descriptions you create will be shaped by the type of work you will be evaluating.

    • Student work product: Presentation of senior research project.

 3.  Identify the component dimensions or skills of the learning outcome.

    • Organization, idea development, draws appropriate conclusions and audience awareness are the skills involved in giving a professional quality oral presentation that we are interested in.

4.  Create the descriptors for each component of the learning outcome.

    • For each component describe the best work you could expect. this describes the top category.
    • For ‘draws appropriate conclusions:’ Draws appropriate conclusion and thoroughly and accurately explains why the conclusion is drawn.
  • Describe unacceptable work for this component. This describes the lowest category.
    • Either draws no conclusion or draws an inappropriate conclusion.
  • Determine the number of categories you will use, and then develop descriptions of intermediate-level work. Rubrics commonly use 3 (e.g., weak, satisfactory, strong) to 5 (e.g., unacceptable, marginal, acceptable, good, outstanding) categories; however any number that is meaningful can be used.
    • We will use 4 categories: Superior, Good, Adequate, Inadequate.
    • Good: Draws appropriate conclusion, but only briefly explains why the conclusion is drawn.
    • Adequate: Draws appropriate conclusion, but either does not explain or is not entirely accurate in the explanation.

5.  Pilot test the rubric by applying it to samples of student work; then revise the rubric as needed to eliminate ambiguities. Consider asking faculty who were not involved in the development of the rubric to pilot test it for you as they may be more able to identify ambiguities in the rubric.

Learning Outcome: Will give professional quality oral presentations.

Skill

Superior

Good

Adequate

Inadequate

Can draw appropriate conclusions.

Draws appropriate conclusion and thoroughly and accurately explains why the conclusion is drawn.

Draws appropriate conclusion, but only briefly explains why the conclusion is drawn.

Draws appropriate conclusion, but either does not explain or is not entirely accurate in the explanation.

Either draws no conclusion or draws an inappropriate conclusion.


You will most likely need to develop rubrics for your program’s learning outcomes from scratch; however it can be helpful to see how others have approached similar outcomes. Visit the examples page for some ideas that may help as you get started on your own rubrics.

 

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