How do students know what is expected of them to get a desired grade?

  • How does the instructor grade consistently?


“if you get something wrong, your teacher can prove you knew what you were supposed to do.” —- Quote from a student who said he didn’t care much for rubrics.

Rubrics are simply a scoring tool that lists criteria for projects, assignments, or other pieces of work. Rubrics list what needs to be included in order to receive a certain score or grade. It allows the student to evaluate his/her own work before submitting. Instructors can justify their grades based on the rubric.

Rubrics fit well into any kind of course delivery. In regards to online teaching, they fit in very well. The reason is because students can view the rubric for the assignment or project, and then immediately know what is expected of them to get the grade they want. Any questions the student may have is usually answered through the rubric. Students can begin on their project right away and not have to wait for the instructor to answer their question through email or discussion boards.

In most cases, rubrics are set up as follows:

Competency or Objective: What is the ultimate goal or outcome?

Performance tasks or Range: What is the process that will provide me evidence of the goal being met?

Criteria or Degree (in which it is met): What characteristics of the performance are we looking for in order to achieve the best grade? Scale below shows the grading scheme for a sample rubric.



Yes, But

No, But






Student has met ALL criteria for the performance task. Student has ALMOST ALL of the criteria for the performance task. Student has met SOME of the criteria for the performance task. Student met NONE, or FEW of the criteria for the performance task.

* Please note that there are many variations for rubrics, but competencies, performance tasks, and criteria almost always remain (terms vary depending on who is explaining it, but the idea remains the same). You may need to get creative with your rubrics depending on your project.

In the sections ahead, we will break this down so it is easier to understand.