Rubric Library


Rubrics are scoring tools that explicitly represent the performance expectations for an assignment or piece of work. A rubric divides the assigned work into component parts and provides clear descriptions of the characteristics of the work associated with each component at varying levels of mastery. Rubrics provide a consistent scoring method for a wide array of assignments: papers, projects, oral presentations, artistic performances, group projects, etc. Rubrics can be used as scoring or grading guides, to provide formative feedback to support and guide ongoing learning efforts. In best practices, rubrics, like other forms of assessment, are part of a cycle of reflection; they evolve based on input from users and the on-going refinement of learning goals and course activities.

Why Use Rubrics?

  • Rubrics make clear the criteria by which student work will be assessed. Students, faculty, and other university stakeholders all benefit from explicit expectations and assessment criteria.
  • Rubrics inform teaching, help faculty clarify expectations, and guide decisions about curriculum, course, and assignment design.
  • Rubrics produce assessments that are far more detailed than a single, holistic grade.
  • Rubrics make scoring easier and faster as they focus on what is to be measured.
  • Rubrics make scoring more accurate and consistent and ensure the same criteria for all students.
  • Rubrics provide concepts and vocabulary to support constructive discussions about learning and reflections on the learning process.
  • Students can use rubrics to self-evaluate to see where they are and where they are headed.
  • Rubrics help gather direct evidence about student learning.

Commonly Used Types of Rubrics

Checklists – list of accomplishments as completed or present in an assignment. Better for self-assessment or observation.

Rating Scales – checklist with a scoring scale along a continuum that shows the degree to which the requirements are present in a completed assignment. Quick and easy to create and score.

Descriptive Rubrics /Analytical Scoring Guides – descriptors describe what is expected at each level of performance. Explicitly document standards and levels of performance. Break task into parts and articulate levels of performance for each criterion.

Holistic Scoring Guides – short narrative descriptions to focus on the entire performance rather than components. Assesses overall performance across multiple criteria. Better for larger scale projects (150 essays or portfolios).

Structured Observation Guides – a rubric without a rating scale; more subjective, qualitative, but still direct and valid

Essential Parts of a Rubric

Criteria that describe the conditions that any performance must meet to be successful. Criteria should describe both strengths and errors (errors should be described particularly in lower levels of performance)

scale of points on a continuum of quality, to be assigned in scoring each level of performance for a piece of work. High numbers are typically assigned to the best work.

Standards that specify how well criteria must be met.

Descriptors for each level of performance that contain criteria, and standards by which the performance will be judged. Indicators are often used in descriptors to provide examples or signs of performance in each level.

RIT Academic Program Rubrics

These rubrics were developed by RIT faculty and staff and are available for use by members of the RIT community:

General Education Rubrics

These rubrics were developed by RIT faculty and staff and are available for use by members of the RIT community:



Critical Thinking