Designing Rubrics

In this day of high-stakes accountability, teachers must implement successful assessment strategies. Rubrics provide guidelines to support student learning, evaluation, and accountability, and they can be effective tools. But there's more than one way to gauge academic strengths and weaknesses. The following Web sites can help you learn more about techniques that monitor, evaluate, and guide instructional practice and student learning.

  • Rubistar: Rubistar offers several excellent assessment tools that help clarify expectations and project benchmarks. You can create project-specific evaluation guidelines or view and edit rubrics created by other educators. Search for rubrics on topics like multimedia, math, oral projects, research, writing, reading, art, science, and music. Design your rubric with as many assessment criteria as you need, export it as an Excel-compatible worksheet, print it for reference, or post it online.
  • Writing and Grading Rubrics: For a collection of language arts grading tools and help with setting up objective grading practices, visit this miniportal featuring resources about rubric design. Sort the resources alphabetically or by category, and learn to design rubrics for essays, debates, biographies, expository writing, persuasive essays, and more.
  • Designed by educators for teachers, parents, and students interested in creating project-specific evaluations, features rubrics on subjects such as language arts, math, performing arts, physical education, social studies, technology, and science. Click on a topic in the table of contents, then view that topic's offerings. For example, the Technology area has nearly 50 rubrics for projects ranging from PowerPoint and multimedia presentations to Web page evaluation and electronic portfolios.
  • Kathy Schrock's Guide for Educators: Assessment and Rubric Information: Schrock's comprehensive guide to formative and summative assessments offers links to a treasure trove of useful evaluation tools and rubrics. The Report Card Comments and Progress Reports category provides sample report cards and boilerplate comments to use as student report card starters.
  • Rubrics (Education) from Wikipedia: This encyclopedia's entry on rubrics describes assessment rubrics and provides a link to the topic of alternative assessment. Learn about the value of student portfolios as an alternative assessment, and find out what educators mean when they refer to summative assessment as an evaluation strategy.
  • Creating Rubrics: Tools You Can Use: This article explains the value of creating objective assessment tools students can use as guidelines for project evaluation. It links to David Warlick's Landmark Project Rubric Builder, where you can create project-based rubrics or view other teachers' rubrics.
  • The Definition of Performance Assessment: Find out more about performance assessment—what it is, how it differs from conventional assessment, why schools should support it, why students like it, and how educators can develop performance-based activities—at the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development Web site. You'll also find links to articles and sample chapters from related ASCD publications.
  • Assessment Terminology: A Glossary of Useful Terms: This New Horizons for Learning site has a list of educational assessment terms and practices. The glossary contains easy-to-read definitions compiled from several sources, including performance-assessment guru Grant Wiggins's Glossary of Useful Terms Related to Authentic and Performance Assessments. Other glossaries are available at and UCLA's Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (
  • Just for Teachers: UCLA's Center for the Study of Evaluation and the National Center for Research on Evaluation Standards and Student Testing conduct research, implement program evaluations, and develop research-based assessment using technology. This site offers policy briefs, newsletters, and other articles, as well as a Quality School Portfolio Resource Kit for gathering data on instructional practice. Scoring rubrics for students of language arts in grades 2-9 are also available.
  • Evaluating Web Pages: Techniques to Apply and Questions to Ask: This site provides questions, quality indicators, and steps to take to investigate Web site authenticity.
  • Best Practice Rubric Design: At this site, you can purchase commercial assessment software to help teachers align academic standards, performance tasks, scoring guides, and classroom lessons. It also has a free generic protocol for rubric design and more than 24 sample rubrics.