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How do I use rubrics?

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What is a rubric?

Already familiar with rubrics and ready to go? Navigate to the article How do I create a rubric?

A rubric is an assessment tool. It allows you to assess skills and products like a paper, presentation or behavior using a more elaborate tool. Oftentimes a rubric is a table that consists of

  • several assessment criteria (rows)
  • several achievement levels/levels of command (columns)
  • indicators: descriptions of the criteria at a certain level (cells)

With a rubric you can:

  • communicate clearly to the students what is expected of them;
  • give specific feedback to students (what is going well, what needs to be changed, what is still missing); 
  • give students insight in their assessment and why they got a certain score;
  • make students reflect on their own learning goals/development/progress;
  • make it more simple to see how certain capabilities that are hard to measure (like how well you work together) are assessed;
  • guarantee the reliability and validity of assessments;
  • create consistent assessments, which means you can outsource the marking.

You can link rubrics to and use them as an assessment tool for:

  • Assignments
  • Discussion topics
  • Surveys
  • Brightspace ePortfolio

To assess an assignment, discussion topic, quiz, survey of ePortfolio using a rubric, the maximum amount of points a student can acquire has to be the same in both the rubric and the assignment or topic (Out of score). To calculate the rubric's maximum score, you have to add up the highest score (belonging to the highest level) of each criterion.  It is advised to calculate the rubric's total score yourself, because the Overall Score s at the bottom of the rubric is not always displayed correctly. You can edit these manually by clicking the arrow next to Overall Level - Edit Levels. You can now enter the correct maximum score for all levels. 

Two types of rubrics

In Brightspace you can create two different types of rubrics: Analytic and Holistic rubrics.

  1. An analytic rubric is two-dimensional: a table with assessment criteria as rows and performance levels as columns. This allows you to assess a performance on multiple criteria in the same rubric. You can also give different weights to different criteria (for example 50% for content, 25% for structure and 25% for language) and then let the total number of given points for each criterion count as the final assessment. This rubric makes the assessment transparent and makes it possible to give meaningful feedback. For these reasons, the analytic rubric is the rubric form that is most used.
  2. A holistic rubric is one-dimensional: it is an assessment based on the entire performance/the complete product. The performance levels have been defined beforehand, but not split up in separate criteria. It is an easier way to assess, but makes it more difficult to give meaningful feedback.

You can link multiple rubrics to an assignment. Use Grades to set up which rubric Brightspace has to use as the default to calculate scores. Then you can choose different rubrics for separate students.

Here is why multiple rubrics can be useful:

  • Apart from the default rubric you can add an additional rubric used only for students with a functional disability, which means you can assess them differently for certain components.
  • For a certain assignment the students had three options to choose from; each alternative has its own rubric.

Example of an analytic rubric: presentation

Rubrics homepage

  • Navigate to Administration in the navbar of your course.
  • Click on Course Admin.
  • Click on Rubrics. You will now navigate to the Rubrics homepage.

You will see an overview of all the rubrics you have already created. If you choose to give your rubrics a description, it will be shown in this overview. Here you will also find

  • the description of the rubric you have filled in yourself;
  • the type of rubric: Analytic or Holistic;
  • the method used for scores:  Points, Custom Points of Percentages (you can read more about this in the article How do I create a rubric?);
  • the Status
    • Draft: you cannot connect the rubric to an activity yet.
    • Published: you can connect the rubric. 
    • Archived: When a rubric is archived it's only visible in the list with linked assignments or when you select Archived in Show Search Options. Archived rubrics can still be used for previously linked assignments, but you cannot link them to new assignments. 
  1. Click on New Rubric to create a new rubric;
  2. Use Search For to search for usable rubrics;
  3. Delete rubrics by clicking on the desired rubric(s) and then click on the waste basket icon. 
  4. Open a drop-down menu of a rubric by clicking the arrow next to the name of a rubric. This will allow you to easily edit the rubric, view a preview, change the status, look at the statistics page, or copy or delete the rubric. 
  5. Click Preview to view the rubric and possibly print the rubric by clicking Print Rubric, as shown on the image below. 

Printing out an evaluated rubric

The Grades tool also offers the possibility of printing out an evaluated rubric.

  1. Open Grades.
  2. Click the action menu to the right of any student name and select Preview Grades.
  3. Click View Graded Rubric.
  4. Click Print Rubric.
  5. Select the printer or PDF driver you want to use and click Print.

You can only use a rubric after the status has been changed to Published. If you changed the status to Draft while editing the rubric, you can easily change the status to Published using the drop-down menu. To do this, clink on the arrow next to the name of the rubric and then click Set Status.

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