Assessment tools - Rubrics


Rubrics are now one of the most widely used assessment tools. Their strength is based on the fact that they are able to provide so much description of desired skills and are therefore good tools for providing formative feedback to the learner.

Click here to read what is a rubric?

Click here to read how to design a rubric

Compare these two rubrics which both assess oral communication:

First, click here to have a look at the oral presentation rubric.

  • notice the relative lack of description in the criteria
  • there is some indication of how to assign the 10 marks in each case, but this is very generic
  • allowance is made for self-assessment as well as teacher assessment

Then look at the rubric for assessing oral communication skills:

Purely in terms of the depth of description this second rubric is far superior. It is possible that some learners find this kind of rubric intimidating because it contains too much text. It would probably be good enough to write just a detailed description of the required behaviour or skill as shown in the fourth column.

Both of the above examples assign equal scores to each criteria. This assumes that they are all equally important. Ideally one would want to combine the features of both rubrics. Good assessment tools should ideally, but not exclusively, include:

  • clearly described criteria
  • clear description of allocation of scores
  • weighted scores for more important criteria
  • opportunity for self-assessment and teacher assessment
  • a comment field

Click here to see an example of such a rubric.

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