Using Rubrics

Research suggests that including rubrics in courses enhances instruction. Jonsson and Svingby (2007) surveyed 75 studies relevant to the reliability and effectiveness of rubrics. They concluded that quality rubrics can increase the accuracy of scoring on performance assessments and, when complemented with other integrated assessment tools, improve the reliability of student assessment. Additionally, rubrics can promote learning and improve instruction by making expectations and criteria explicit while also facilitating instructor feedback and student self- assessment practices.

Rubrics create a framework that saves time for the instructor, while providing students structured feedback for graded assignments or exams and helping to maintain communication in the learning environment. Rubric criteria should serve as a direct link to learning objectives and course outcomes. Performances and assigned tasks should be mapped with criteria that can be traced to objectives and outcomes. Student performances can be quantitatively measured and grades are validated.

Options for rubrics:

  1. Students and instructors can use the rubric as a working guide provided to the students prior to the assignment, outlining how they will be graded on their work.
  2. A rubric can also serve as a final checklist for students, allowing them to reflect and become more self-directed learners.
  3. Final rubrics can be viewed as a formative assessment tool for instructors, giving them the opportunity to identify learning gaps and student needs and providing feedback to students based on performance.

We use multiple rubrics to review Northeastern University Online courses for effective design, development, and delivery. See the Discussion Board rubric below for an example on how to ensure your course meets expectations for our students.

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