Grading rubric strategies

A rubric is an evaluation tool that identifies criteria relevant to an assignment and describes levels of performance expectations for the assignment or other student work. Grading rubrics communicate expectations and help assess the extent to which students are achieving developmental learning outcomes. There are many types of rubrics and most are organized into a table for ease of communication and the purpose of building them into WebCampus.


Rubrics are beneficial to both the instructors and the students for the following reasons:

  1. Ease of communication: In WebCampus, a rubric can be integrated with a variety of assessments, such as assignments, discussions, presentations, and group projects. Your students will be able to quickly access a detailed explanation as to why they received the grade they did and how to improve for the next assignment.
  2. Rubrics convey the assessment standards to students and also reduce the workload in grading. You’ll be doing far less typing/writing if you use a rubric. Rubrics remove the monotony of repeating yourself.
  3. They help ensure that the assignments are evaluated fairly and consistently.
  4. Rubrics also provide students with clear learning goals, specific requirements, and acceptable performance standards for each assignment. This means that they help students become more aware and better able to efficiently evaluate their own work. When the assignments are scored with the rubric, students can easily identify and understand what area needs further effort in order to meet the performance standard.

Components of a rubric

At its core, a successful rubric involves three important components:

  1. Rubric description: The rubric description provides information to students about what aspects of an assignment or project will be assessed and how they will be assessed.
  2. Criteria: Criteria, often called dimensions, identify the characteristics or components of the task to be rated. For example, a rubric for a presentation could include content, organization, style, communication, use of visual aid, and presentation skills. A rubric for a written assignment or research paper could include argument, evidence, counter-evidence, sources, and citations.
  3. Levels of achievement: Levels of achievement are often called scale. Scale uses labels to describe how well or poorly a task has been performed by students. For example, you can use excellent, good, needs improvement, and poor; or sophisticated, competent, and not yet competent to set up the assignment scale.

Steps to designing rubrics

WebCampus tool: Rubrics

Learn how to create and manage rubrics in your WebCampus course.

Please see the Canvas Guide: How do I use a rubric to grade submissions in SpeedGrader? For more information.

Or watch the rubrics overview video.

Sample rubrics


Here is a sample of a rubric designed for online discussion:

A rubric showing columns for criteria, ratings, and a summation of points in the categories.


Here is a sample of what a rubric designed for an essay and provided in an assignment or syllabus:

Representation of a sample rubric with varying numbers of columns based on the criteria identified.

Feedback with rubrics

Creating rubrics in WebCampus will take some time at the beginning but this is time well-spent. For instructors, rubrics can be reused over time and can help you to grade more efficiently and with greater consistency. For students, rubrics are beneficial because they can receive more timely and meaningful feedback from instructors and they can develop their self-regulated learning skills as they apply the feedback to their work (Stephens & Levi, 2013).

As you create rubrics, consider the following suggestions:

  • Involve students in rubric construction. Stephen and Levi point out the benefits of this approach in that it prevents misunderstanding of expectations and increases students’ awareness of themselves as "stakeholders" in the learning process.
  • Use pre-existing rubrics if they exist, and modify them as needed. You can find respected sources of rubrics such as the AACU Value Rubrics (registration required). You may also ask your colleagues about rubrics they use or work with them to create rubrics you share across classes.


Rippé, C. (2009, August 31). Using Rubrics to Improve Online Teaching, Learning, and Retention. Faculty Focus.

Stephens, D.D., & Levi, A.J. (2013). Introduction to rubrics (2nd Ed.). Serling, VA: Stylus Publishing, LLC.