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Rubrics serve a two-fold purpose in supporting instruction by creating cohesion and ensuring consistency and efficiency in the evaluation process (Reitmer, Svendson & Vrchota, 2004).  With consistent use and exposure of rubrics, learners can use them as guides for planning and focusing their effort, supporting reflection on feedback, and helping them to produce higher quality work (Atkinson & Lim 2013; Reddy & Andrade, 2010).  There are two major types of rubrics: 

Holistic rubrics assess the learner's overall competency in measuring the quality and understanding of content. Holistic rubrics provide a short, summative overview of a learner's performance using predefined achievement levels usually on a 4- or 5-point scale (e.g., 4=sufficient, 5=above average).  

Analytic rubrics assess the learner's mastery of a specified task (e.g., final paper) using listed criteria (e.g., 1=Needs improvement, 2=Developing) to showcase strengths and weaknesses.  The way an analytic rubric separates a project into its major parts and provides rating criteria allows learners to ascertain which areas need improvement (Brown, Irving & Keegan, 2014).

Rubrics are used to measure learner work and performance, and there is an undeniable amount of work necessary to create rubrics that mirror the objectives and expectations of the assignment. Fortunately, the CIS Rubric Repository offers an alternative, as do some of the other resources listed below, by providing rubrics to use ‘as is’, customized, or as guidance for developing reliable rubrics. 

Additional resources

Cornell University Center for Teaching Innovation: Using Rubrics


Atkinson, D., & Lim, S. L. (2013). Improving assessment processes in higher education: Student and teacher perceptions of the effectiveness of a rubric embedded in a LMS. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 29(5), 651-666. 

Brown, G., Irving, E., & Keegan, P. (2014). An introduction to educational assessment, measurement and evaluation. Auckland, NZ: Pearson Education. 

Reitmeier, C.A., Svendsen, L.K. & Vrchota, D.A. (2004). Improving oral communication skills of students in food science courses. Journal of Food Science Education, 3(2), 15–20.