Why Use Rubrics?

Photo By ErzaWinanto (CC BY-NC 2.0) http://www.flickr.com/photos/therzas-photo/4062534969/
Photo By ErzaWinanto (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Well-crafted rubrics can be a very helpful tool for grading your students’ work. Benefits of rubrics include:

  • Time savings – Because feedback is standardized to specific criteria, you don’t need to generate original responses for each student’s work.
  • Better projects and papers – If provided ahead of time, rubrics help students to develop their papers or projects to meet your expectations.
  • Fewer misunderstandings – Students have a clearer understanding of what was expected, and they can more easily determine how their grade was calculated.

Why Use Rubrics in Blackboard?

Blackboard allows you to grade students’ work using digital rubrics that tie directly into the Grade Center. As you mark where the students’ work falls on your rubric criteria, it can calculate the total points earned and enter that total in the grading column for the assignment.

You have the option of allowing students to see the rubric before the assignment is due, after it has been graded, or not at all. But rubrics work best when opened up to students before and after the assignment is due, so that they understand what they should be aiming for and to what extent they met those same standards.

The rubric tool in Blackboard is available for:

  • Assignments (anything that students must submit, like a paper or a project)
  • Discussion posts, blogs, and journals
  • Wikis
  • Open-ended test questions, like essays or short answer questions

Example of a rubric in Blackboard

How Do I Set Up a Rubric in Blackboard?

Blackboard allows you to create different types rubrics that vary by how the students’ scores are calculated. You can score rubrics by:

Are you wondering about the numbers I chose for my rubric examples? I prefer to equate my points to letter grades, so that I can make sure that students earn the grades they deserve from the rubric. Also, I left out the descriptions for each level of achievement for simplicity, but you will get the most value out of your rubrics if you provide specific criteria explaining each level of achievement.

If you are just getting started with rubrics, you may find that the best options are a percentage-based rubric (which will help you think in terms of letter grades) or no points at all (which allows you to grade holistically based on where students tend to score on the rubric).

The following short videos from Blackboard will walk you through the steps of creating a rubric in Blackboard and associating it with an assignment, test question, or other tool:

How to Create a Rubric

How to Associate a Rubric to a Content Item

If you prefer written documentation, this PDF guide to rubrics in Blackboard walks through the steps of building rubrics, associating them with Blackboard tools, and using them for grading.

Need Help?

If you need help getting your rubric into Blackboard, contact a member of the Instructional Design team, and we can set up a time to walk you through it!

Having trouble building a good rubric? Look out for an upcoming blog post that will explore this topic further! [Editor’s note: This post can be found here: How to Build a Good Rubric.]

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