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Skidmore College
Assessment at Skidmore College

Creating Scoring Rubrics

A scoring rubric is a method of classifying and categorizing student behaviors or products along a continuum.  Rubrics can be used to assess writing, research reports, performances, portfolios, and problem-solving, among others.  Rubrics allow faculty to evaluate or assess student work fairly efficiently.  If students are taught to score their own work, they can profit from understanding the standards and criteria that faculty expect of them.

How to create and use a scoring rubric:

  1. Determine the characteristics of the task that you are assessing;

  2. Describe what the best example of this characteristic looks like;

  3. Describe the worst acceptable example of this characteristic;

  4. Determine what would be unacceptable;

  5. You now have three levels of assessment:  you can develop other levels in between those three if you think that will give you meaningful information;

  6. Test the rubric on some student work to determine whether it works;

  7. If they were not involved in developing the rubric, teach the team of faculty evaluating the student work how to use the rubric;

  8. Ideally, each example of student work should be evaluated by more than one faculty member;

  9. When the team is using the rubric, one person ought to serve as a moderator, reviewing the scores of different evaluators on the same student work to determine whether there are great discrepancies;

  10. If two faculty differ substantially on the scoring of one student’s work, give the work to a third faculty member to evaluate as a third judgment;

  11. Compile all scores for each characteristic that you are evaluating to summarize the results (Note:  if each evaluator keeps notes on the greatest weaknesses, you can use those to help understand the overall scores).

  12. Analyze those areas that appear to reflect weaknesses in student abilities.

For examples of scoring rubrics, see the sections on portfolio assessment and on performance assessment.

Here are links to two good articles on rubrics:

What's Wrong - and What's Right - with Rubrics. W. James Popham, Educational Leadership. pp 72 - 75, October 1997.

What's Still Wrong with Rubrics: Focusing on the consistency of performance criteria across scale levels. Robin Tierney and Marielle Simon. Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation, 2004.

Winona State University's assessment website has links to many good examples of rubrics.

Howard University's page on rubrics.

University of West Florida's page on developing rubrics.

AAC&U's Value Rubrics. These include rubrics for assessing intellectual and practical skills (e.g., inquiry and analysis, critical thinking, problem solving), personal and social responsibility (e.g., civic knowledge and engagement, intercultural knowledge and competence), and integrative learning.