Why Rubrics Work

If the purpose of education is to empower students to master new skills and concepts, educators need a way to measure student progress toward this goal. Scoring rubrics are one way to do this.

What Are Rubrics?

Rubrics can be used to grade projects and assignments that require subjective evaluation. Teachers create rubrics by first identifying evaluation criteria that demonstrate student proficiency in the learning objectives the assignment is trying to reinforce.

Voyages in English, a comprehensive writing and grammar program published by Loyola Press, includes in the teacher support pages reproducible rubrics for students and teachers. There are eight sets of rubrics, one set customized for each of the writing genres taught throughout the program. The rubrics, based on the learning objectives for each writing chapter, assess the traits of good writing, conventions such as spelling and punctuation, and final presentation. The rubrics also provide teachers with space to include additional criteria they may wish to assess.

How Can Teachers and Students Benefit from Using Rubrics?

At their most basic, rubrics can help teachers with lesson planning. After identifying learning objectives and establishing evaluation criteria, teachers can create lesson plans that help students master the concepts being taught. In addition, rubrics provide fair and objective criteria for assessing assignments that may not have objective answers. Finally, for complex projects, rubrics help teachers monitor students’ ongoing progress. The evaluation criteria included in the rubric can be used to assess students’ work informally at each stage of the assignment.

Students may also find rubrics to be helpful. Because rubrics are directly correlated with concrete learning objectives, the evaluation criteria included on a rubric can help students identify learning goals and teacher expectations. Rubrics encourage active learning among students, who can monitor their progress by evaluating their work against the rubric. In addition, based on feedback they have received on previous rubrics, students can set their own learning targets by focusing on areas that need improvement.

Rubrics, which are beneficial to students and teachers, provide a fair and objective way to assess student work. Rubrics provide teachers with a way to measure student progress and encourage active learning among students.