Using Rubrics: Integrity, Fairness and Responsibility

A rubric is an assessment tool that helps to maintain integrity and fairness in grading. They also help students to be responsible for their learning through better and timelier feedback. But how do rubrics accomplish this? What makes a rubric such an effective way for online instructors to articulate to students the desired learning outcomes for the lesson and the specific components that will be graded?

Stevens & Levi note that rubrics are great grading and teaching tools, by laying out the specific expectations for the lesson while demonstrating integrity and fairness in the online classroom. How does a well-designed rubric help with integrity and fairness in grading?

Integrity (Instructor)

  • Rubrics help to reduce and streamline grading.
  • Consistency in grading based on a clear set of expectations and standards.
  • A good clear and objective assessment tool.
  • Students receive learning-centered feedback. Helps instructors to provide detailed and informative evaluations.
  • Rubrics use benchmarks to help instructors to gauge student strengths and weaknesses in coursework.

Fairness (Student)

  • Specific performance expectations and standards are arranged to indicate the degree to which criteria has been met and how coursework is graded.
  • Everyone is graded using the same set of specific performance standards.
  • Assessment is based on a clear set of specific performance standards. This helps when a student doesn’t agree with the assessment of submitted coursework.
  • Students will know that everyone in the class is graded using the same set of standards.

Responsibility (Student)

  • Helps students to solve issues and improve performance with their individual or group coursework.
  • There is an understanding of which specific performances is graded for individual and group work.
  • Clear expectations on how and when to submit assignments.
  • Using benchmarks, students are more aware of their learning process and progress.
  • Students can improve their lesson based on timely, detailed and informative feedback.

Types of Rubrics

Group (Collaborative) and Project (Individual)

Rubrics can be used for group (collaborations) or individual (project) coursework. Group rubrics are great guidelines for letting each group member know what is expected of them. Project and group rubrics list the specific components and criteria for the completion of the project, such as a weekly lesson or final project.

Why a Rubric?

A rubric helps to streamline the grading process, especially if you have a lot of students. Rubrics will help you to grade every collaborative lesson or individual lesson in a way that is consistent and straightforward. Rubrics also help to level the playing field for students by allowing instructors to provide detailed, timely and informative feedback. Students want to know how to succeed and not just why they are failing. A rubric empowers a student before the assigned coursework. Students will know how they are going to be assessed before the learning and not after learning is over. Grading integrity, fairness and responsibility, this is why a rubric.

Next post we will discuss “How To Develop A Rubric?”


Sources: Stevens, D. & Levi, A. Introduction to Rubrics: An Assessment Tool to Save Grading Time, Convey Effective Feedback and Promote Student Learning. Sterling, VA: Stylus, 2005.

Feature image courtesy of Flickr, abnederveld.

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