2. Marking criteria and rubrics
What do we mean by marking criteria and rubrics?
Marking criteria are essentially your standards of judgement for the assignment you have set. Marking or scoring rubrics are a guide to marking against those standards of judgement. They are often constructed as a table or grid, containing the agreed criteria, along with explicit definitions of the quality expected for different levels of judgement.
Why is this essential?
From the student perspective:
- If students have sight of the rubrics in advance, they will be able to see clearly how their work will be judged, and will be able to plan their preparation and take control of their learning.
- Students will be able to understand the marks they have been given.
- A student should be able to look at the mark given to them, alongside a clear rubric, and understand how they achieved their mark.
- Good marking criteria and rubrics can be a part of feedback.
- Detailed marking criteria and rubrics can offer an initial narrative and framework for feedback.
From staff perspective:
- To ensure that marking is reliable.
- Good marking criteria and rubrics should ensure that different markers can assign consistent grades.
- To ensure that assessors are measuring what the assessment is intended to measure.
- Align marking criteria to module and programme learning outcomes (Constructive Alignment).
- Good marking criteria and rubrics can act as a part of feedback, which makes feedback production more efficient and less labour intensive.
Case study: Creating an assessment handbook
The Sheffield Methods Institute have produced an assessment handbook. Within it are contained all the marking scales, marking criteria and descriptors for the different types of assessment that students will encounter across their programme.
Information is presented in one place, in a coherent manner, so that students know exactly where to go to understand what is being asked of them.
What you can do
- Check if your department has any existing marking criteria and rubrics that you can adapt.
- Ask colleagues to share with you examples of the marking criteria and rubrics they use.
Building rubrics - step by step
What you can do
- Find out how to set up rubrics for your assignments on Turnitin.
- Ensure that you share your marking criteria and rubrics with students from the beginning of the learning unit.
- Consider building in classroom activities that familiarise students with the marking criteria - e.g. by using exemplars, or peer marking of practice assignments.