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They let you set out criteria, or what counts in the work, with levels that you can select depending on how well each student meets each criterion. You can give feedback only (no numeric grade) or you can define points for each level, which automatically calculates a grade. You can leave a comment on each criterion. Rubrics have three broad functions: a standard by which to grade students' work which is also available to students; a vehicle for feedback; and evidence for the teaching team. Rubrics can make marking fast and feedback straightforward to read, and can also help students to understand the marking criteria before they write and submit their work.

Rubrics contrast with Marking Guides (or Grading Forms in Turnitin) - the latter allow you to specify a criteria but instead of levels there is only a numeric grade to give.

Educational notes

Although rubrics can help with consistent marking, they can also give the impression that marking is highly standarised when in fact it ultimately relies on judgements. Community measures to build shared understandings of criteria help students to come to terms with nuance in marking.

Students can find it very challenging to relate their rubric feedback to their numeric mark. One approach is to allow the rubric to calculate the mark by associating points with each level. Students can then understand the relative weighting of each criteria, and where they lost and gained marks. Some UCL students have reported that they appreciate this clarity, and some tutors have said it helps them to focus their responses to student queries.

Students appreciate assessors using the comments field to explain the level the student reached on each criterion of the rubric.

Where criteria are given it is helpful to reference them in any inline comments, as far as possible, to help students relate the comments to the criteria. This is particularly important in feedback-only rubrics, where it also serves to reassure students that the assessors are actually using the criteria to reach their judgement.


Detailed step-by-step guidance on Rubrics is available from moodledocs.

See also: