Teaching excellence & educational innovation, creating and using rubrics.
A rubric is a scoring tool that explicitly describes the instructor’s performance expectations for an assignment or piece of work. A rubric identifies:
- criteria: the aspects of performance (e.g., argument, evidence, clarity) that will be assessed
- descriptors: the characteristics associated with each dimension (e.g., argument is demonstrable and original, evidence is diverse and compelling)
- performance levels: a rating scale that identifies students’ level of mastery within each criterion
Rubrics can be used to provide feedback to students on diverse types of assignments, from papers, projects, and oral presentations to artistic performances and group projects.
Benefitting from Rubrics
- reduce the time spent grading by allowing instructors to refer to a substantive description without writing long comments
- help instructors more clearly identify strengths and weaknesses across an entire class and adjust their instruction appropriately
- help to ensure consistency across time and across graders
- reduce the uncertainty which can accompany grading
- discourage complaints about grades
- understand instructors’ expectations and standards
- use instructor feedback to improve their performance
- monitor and assess their progress as they work towards clearly indicated goals
- recognize their strengths and weaknesses and direct their efforts accordingly
Examples of Rubrics
Here we are providing a sample set of rubrics designed by faculty at Carnegie Mellon and other institutions. Although your particular field of study or type of assessment may not be represented, viewing a rubric that is designed for a similar assessment may give you ideas for the kinds of criteria, descriptions, and performance levels you use on your own rubric.
- Example 1: Philosophy Paper This rubric was designed for student papers in a range of courses in philosophy (Carnegie Mellon).
- Example 2: Psychology Assignment Short, concept application homework assignment in cognitive psychology (Carnegie Mellon).
- Example 3: Anthropology Writing Assignments This rubric was designed for a series of short writing assignments in anthropology (Carnegie Mellon).
- Example 4: History Research Paper . This rubric was designed for essays and research papers in history (Carnegie Mellon).
- Example 1: Capstone Project in Design This rubric describes the components and standards of performance from the research phase to the final presentation for a senior capstone project in design (Carnegie Mellon).
- Example 2: Engineering Design Project This rubric describes performance standards for three aspects of a team project: research and design, communication, and team work.
- Example 1: Oral Exam This rubric describes a set of components and standards for assessing performance on an oral exam in an upper-division course in history (Carnegie Mellon).
- Example 2: Oral Communication This rubric is adapted from Huba and Freed, 2000.
- Example 3: Group Presentations This rubric describes a set of components and standards for assessing group presentations in history (Carnegie Mellon).
- Example 1: Discussion Class This rubric assesses the quality of student contributions to class discussions. This is appropriate for an undergraduate-level course (Carnegie Mellon).
- Example 2: Advanced Seminar This rubric is designed for assessing discussion performance in an advanced undergraduate or graduate seminar.
See also " Examples and Tools " section of this site for more rubrics.
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Rubric Best Practices, Examples, and Templates
A rubric is a scoring tool that identifies the different criteria relevant to an assignment, assessment, or learning outcome and states the possible levels of achievement in a specific, clear, and objective way. Use rubrics to assess project-based student work including essays, group projects, creative endeavors, and oral presentations.
Rubrics can help instructors communicate expectations to students and assess student work fairly, consistently and efficiently. Rubrics can provide students with informative feedback on their strengths and weaknesses so that they can reflect on their performance and work on areas that need improvement.
How to Get Started
Best practices, moodle how-to guides.
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Step 1: Analyze the assignment
The first step in the rubric creation process is to analyze the assignment or assessment for which you are creating a rubric. To do this, consider the following questions:
- What is the purpose of the assignment and your feedback? What do you want students to demonstrate through the completion of this assignment (i.e. what are the learning objectives measured by it)? Is it a summative assessment, or will students use the feedback to create an improved product?
- Does the assignment break down into different or smaller tasks? Are these tasks equally important as the main assignment?
- What would an “excellent” assignment look like? An “acceptable” assignment? One that still needs major work?
- How detailed do you want the feedback you give students to be? Do you want/need to give them a grade?
Step 2: Decide what kind of rubric you will use
Types of rubrics: holistic, analytic/descriptive, single-point
Holistic Rubric. A holistic rubric includes all the criteria (such as clarity, organization, mechanics, etc.) to be considered together and included in a single evaluation. With a holistic rubric, the rater or grader assigns a single score based on an overall judgment of the student’s work, using descriptions of each performance level to assign the score.
Advantages of holistic rubrics:
- Can p lace an emphasis on what learners can demonstrate rather than what they cannot
- Save grader time by minimizing the number of evaluations to be made for each student
- Can be used consistently across raters, provided they have all been trained
Disadvantages of holistic rubrics:
- Provide less specific feedback than analytic/descriptive rubrics
- Can be difficult to choose a score when a student’s work is at varying levels across the criteria
- Any weighting of c riteria cannot be indicated in the rubric
Analytic/Descriptive Rubric . An analytic or descriptive rubric often takes the form of a table with the criteria listed in the left column and with levels of performance listed across the top row. Each cell contains a description of what the specified criterion looks like at a given level of performance. Each of the criteria is scored individually.
Advantages of analytic rubrics:
- Provide detailed feedback on areas of strength or weakness
- Each criterion can be weighted to reflect its relative importance
Disadvantages of analytic rubrics:
- More time-consuming to create and use than a holistic rubric
- May not be used consistently across raters unless the cells are well defined
- May result in giving less personalized feedback
Single-Point Rubric . A single-point rubric is breaks down the components of an assignment into different criteria, but instead of describing different levels of performance, only the “proficient” level is described. Feedback space is provided for instructors to give individualized comments to help students improve and/or show where they excelled beyond the proficiency descriptors.
Advantages of single-point rubrics:
- Easier to create than an analytic/descriptive rubric
- Perhaps more likely that students will read the descriptors
- Areas of concern and excellence are open-ended
- May removes a focus on the grade/points
- May increase student creativity in project-based assignments
Disadvantage of analytic rubrics: Requires more work for instructors writing feedback
Step 3 (Optional): Look for templates and examples.
You might Google, “Rubric for persuasive essay at the college level” and see if there are any publicly available examples to start from. Ask your colleagues if they have used a rubric for a similar assignment. Some examples are also available at the end of this article. These rubrics can be a great starting point for you, but consider steps 3, 4, and 5 below to ensure that the rubric matches your assignment description, learning objectives and expectations.
Step 4: Define the assignment criteria
Make a list of the knowledge and skills are you measuring with the assignment/assessment Refer to your stated learning objectives, the assignment instructions, past examples of student work, etc. for help.
Helpful strategies for defining grading criteria:
- Collaborate with co-instructors, teaching assistants, and other colleagues
- Brainstorm and discuss with students
- Can they be observed and measured?
- Are they important and essential?
- Are they distinct from other criteria?
- Are they phrased in precise, unambiguous language?
- Revise the criteria as needed
- Consider whether some are more important than others, and how you will weight them.
Step 5: Design the rating scale
Most ratings scales include between 3 and 5 levels. Consider the following questions when designing your rating scale:
- Given what students are able to demonstrate in this assignment/assessment, what are the possible levels of achievement?
- How many levels would you like to include (more levels means more detailed descriptions)
- Will you use numbers and/or descriptive labels for each level of performance? (for example 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and/or Exceeds expectations, Accomplished, Proficient, Developing, Beginning, etc.)
- Don’t use too many columns, and recognize that some criteria can have more columns that others . The rubric needs to be comprehensible and organized. Pick the right amount of columns so that the criteria flow logically and naturally across levels.
Step 6: Write descriptions for each level of the rating scale
Artificial Intelligence tools like Chat GPT have proven to be useful tools for creating a rubric. You will want to engineer your prompt that you provide the AI assistant to ensure you get what you want. For example, you might provide the assignment description, the criteria you feel are important, and the number of levels of performance you want in your prompt. Use the results as a starting point, and adjust the descriptions as needed.
Building a rubric from scratch
For a single-point rubric , describe what would be considered “proficient,” i.e. B-level work, and provide that description. You might also include suggestions for students outside of the actual rubric about how they might surpass proficient-level work.
For analytic and holistic rubrics , c reate statements of expected performance at each level of the rubric.
- Consider what descriptor is appropriate for each criteria, e.g., presence vs absence, complete vs incomplete, many vs none, major vs minor, consistent vs inconsistent, always vs never. If you have an indicator described in one level, it will need to be described in each level.
- You might start with the top/exemplary level. What does it look like when a student has achieved excellence for each/every criterion? Then, look at the “bottom” level. What does it look like when a student has not achieved the learning goals in any way? Then, complete the in-between levels.
- For an analytic rubric , do this for each particular criterion of the rubric so that every cell in the table is filled. These descriptions help students understand your expectations and their performance in regard to those expectations.
- Describe observable and measurable behavior
- Use parallel language across the scale
- Indicate the degree to which the standards are met
Step 7: Create your rubric
Create your rubric in a table or spreadsheet in Word, Google Docs, Sheets, etc., and then transfer it by typing it into Moodle. You can also use online tools to create the rubric, but you will still have to type the criteria, indicators, levels, etc., into Moodle. Rubric creators: Rubistar , iRubric
Step 8: Pilot-test your rubric
Prior to implementing your rubric on a live course, obtain feedback from:
- Teacher assistants
Try out your new rubric on a sample of student work. After you pilot-test your rubric, analyze the results to consider its effectiveness and revise accordingly.
- Limit the rubric to a single page for reading and grading ease
- Use parallel language . Use similar language and syntax/wording from column to column. Make sure that the rubric can be easily read from left to right or vice versa.
- Use student-friendly language . Make sure the language is learning-level appropriate. If you use academic language or concepts, you will need to teach those concepts.
- Share and discuss the rubric with your students . Students should understand that the rubric is there to help them learn, reflect, and self-assess. If students use a rubric, they will understand the expectations and their relevance to learning.
- Consider scalability and reusability of rubrics. Create rubric templates that you can alter as needed for multiple assignments.
- Maximize the descriptiveness of your language. Avoid words like “good” and “excellent.” For example, instead of saying, “uses excellent sources,” you might describe what makes a resource excellent so that students will know. You might also consider reducing the reliance on quantity, such as a number of allowable misspelled words. Focus instead, for example, on how distracting any spelling errors are.
Example of an analytic rubric for a final paper
Example of a holistic rubric for a final paper, single-point rubric, more examples:.
- Single Point Rubric Template ( variation )
- Analytic Rubric Template make a copy to edit
- A Rubric for Rubrics
- Bank of Online Discussion Rubrics in different formats
- Mathematical Presentations Descriptive Rubric
- Math Proof Assessment Rubric
- Kansas State Sample Rubrics
- Design Single Point Rubric
Technology Tools: Rubrics in Moodle
- Moodle Docs: Rubrics
- Moodle Docs: Grading Guide (use for single-point rubrics)
Tools with rubrics (other than Moodle)
- Google Assignments
- Turnitin Assignments: Rubric or Grading Form
- DePaul University (n.d.). Rubrics .
- Gonzalez, J. (2014). Know your terms: Holistic, Analytic, and Single-Point Rubrics . Cult of Pedagogy.
- Goodrich, H. (1996). Understanding rubrics . Teaching for Authentic Student Performance, 54 (4), 14-17. Retrieved from
- Miller, A. (2012). Tame the beast: tips for designing and using rubrics.
- Ragupathi, K., Lee, A. (2020). Beyond Fairness and Consistency in Grading: The Role of Rubrics in Higher Education. In: Sanger, C., Gleason, N. (eds) Diversity and Inclusion in Global Higher Education. Palgrave Macmillan, Singapore.
Main navigation, articulating your assessment values.
Reading, commenting on, and then assigning a grade to a piece of student writing requires intense attention and difficult judgment calls. Some faculty dread “the stack.” Students may share the faculty’s dim view of writing assessment, perceiving it as highly subjective. They wonder why one faculty member values evidence and correctness before all else, while another seeks a vaguely defined originality.
Writing rubrics can help address the concerns of both faculty and students by making writing assessment more efficient, consistent, and public. Whether it is called a grading rubric, a grading sheet, or a scoring guide, a writing assignment rubric lists criteria by which the writing is graded.
Why create a writing rubric?
- It makes your tacit rhetorical knowledge explicit
- It articulates community- and discipline-specific standards of excellence
- It links the grade you give the assignment to the criteria
- It can make your grading more efficient, consistent, and fair as you can read and comment with your criteria in mind
- It can help you reverse engineer your course: once you have the rubrics created, you can align your readings, activities, and lectures with the rubrics to set your students up for success
- It can help your students produce writing that you look forward to reading
How to create a writing rubric
Create a rubric at the same time you create the assignment. It will help you explain to the students what your goals are for the assignment.
- Consider your purpose: do you need a rubric that addresses the standards for all the writing in the course? Or do you need to address the writing requirements and standards for just one assignment? Task-specific rubrics are written to help teachers assess individual assignments or genres, whereas generic rubrics are written to help teachers assess multiple assignments.
- Begin by listing the important qualities of the writing that will be produced in response to a particular assignment. It may be helpful to have several examples of excellent versions of the assignment in front of you: what writing elements do they all have in common? Among other things, these may include features of the argument, such as a main claim or thesis; use and presentation of sources, including visuals; and formatting guidelines such as the requirement of a works cited.
- Then consider how the criteria will be weighted in grading. Perhaps all criteria are equally important, or perhaps there are two or three that all students must achieve to earn a passing grade. Decide what best fits the class and requirements of the assignment.
Consider involving students in Steps 2 and 3. A class session devoted to developing a rubric can provoke many important discussions about the ways the features of the language serve the purpose of the writing. And when students themselves work to describe the writing they are expected to produce, they are more likely to achieve it.
At this point, you will need to decide if you want to create a holistic or an analytic rubric. There is much debate about these two approaches to assessment.
Comparing Holistic and Analytic Rubrics
Holistic scoring .
Holistic scoring aims to rate overall proficiency in a given student writing sample. It is often used in large-scale writing program assessment and impromptu classroom writing for diagnostic purposes.
General tenets to holistic scoring:
- Responding to drafts is part of evaluation
- Responses do not focus on grammar and mechanics during drafting and there is little correction
- Marginal comments are kept to 2-3 per page with summative comments at end
- End commentary attends to students’ overall performance across learning objectives as articulated in the assignment
- Response language aims to foster students’ self-assessment
Holistic rubrics emphasize what students do well and generally increase efficiency; they may also be more valid because scoring includes authentic, personal reaction of the reader. But holistic sores won’t tell a student how they’ve progressed relative to previous assignments and may be rater-dependent, reducing reliability. (For a summary of advantages and disadvantages of holistic scoring, see Becker, 2011, p. 116.)
Here is an example of a partial holistic rubric:
Summary meets all the criteria. The writer understands the article thoroughly. The main points in the article appear in the summary with all main points proportionately developed. The summary should be as comprehensive as possible and should be as comprehensive as possible and should read smoothly, with appropriate transitions between ideas. Sentences should be clear, without vagueness or ambiguity and without grammatical or mechanical errors.
A complete holistic rubric for a research paper (authored by Jonah Willihnganz) can be downloaded here.
Analytic scoring makes explicit the contribution to the final grade of each element of writing. For example, an instructor may choose to give 30 points for an essay whose ideas are sufficiently complex, that marshals good reasons in support of a thesis, and whose argument is logical; and 20 points for well-constructed sentences and careful copy editing.
General tenets to analytic scoring:
- Reflect emphases in your teaching and communicate the learning goals for the course
- Emphasize student performance across criterion, which are established as central to the assignment in advance, usually on an assignment sheet
- Typically take a quantitative approach, providing a scaled set of points for each criterion
- Make the analytic framework available to students before they write
Advantages of an analytic rubric include ease of training raters and improved reliability. Meanwhile, writers often can more easily diagnose the strengths and weaknesses of their work. But analytic rubrics can be time-consuming to produce, and raters may judge the writing holistically anyway. Moreover, many readers believe that writing traits cannot be separated. (For a summary of the advantages and disadvantages of analytic scoring, see Becker, 2011, p. 115.)
For example, a partial analytic rubric for a single trait, “addresses a significant issue”:
- Excellent: Elegantly establishes the current problem, why it matters, to whom
- Above Average: Identifies the problem; explains why it matters and to whom
- Competent: Describes topic but relevance unclear or cursory
- Developing: Unclear issue and relevance
A complete analytic rubric for a research paper can be downloaded here. In WIM courses, this language should be revised to name specific disciplinary conventions.
Whichever type of rubric you write, your goal is to avoid pushing students into prescriptive formulas and limiting thinking (e.g., “each paragraph has five sentences”). By carefully describing the writing you want to read, you give students a clear target, and, as Ed White puts it, “describe the ongoing work of the class” (75).
Writing rubrics contribute meaningfully to the teaching of writing. Think of them as a coaching aide. In class and in conferences, you can use the language of the rubric to help you move past generic statements about what makes good writing good to statements about what constitutes success on the assignment and in the genre or discourse community. The rubric articulates what you are asking students to produce on the page; once that work is accomplished, you can turn your attention to explaining how students can achieve it.
Becker, Anthony. “Examining Rubrics Used to Measure Writing Performance in U.S. Intensive English Programs.” The CATESOL Journal 22.1 (2010/2011):113-30. Web.
White, Edward M. Teaching and Assessing Writing . Proquest Info and Learning, 1985. Print.
CCCC Committee on Assessment. “Writing Assessment: A Position Statement.” November 2006 (Revised March 2009). Conference on College Composition and Communication. Web.
Gallagher, Chris W. “Assess Locally, Validate Globally: Heuristics for Validating Local Writing Assessments.” Writing Program Administration 34.1 (2010): 10-32. Web.
Huot, Brian. (Re)Articulating Writing Assessment for Teaching and Learning. Logan: Utah State UP, 2002. Print.
Kelly-Reilly, Diane, and Peggy O’Neil, eds. Journal of Writing Assessment. Web.
McKee, Heidi A., and Dànielle Nicole DeVoss DeVoss, Eds. Digital Writing Assessment & Evaluation. Logan, UT: Computers and Composition Digital Press/Utah State University Press, 2013. Web.
O’Neill, Peggy, Cindy Moore, and Brian Huot. A Guide to College Writing Assessment . Logan: Utah State UP, 2009. Print.
Sommers, Nancy. Responding to Student Writers . Macmillan Higher Education, 2013.
Straub, Richard. “Responding, Really Responding to Other Students’ Writing.” The Subject is Writing: Essays by Teachers and Students. Ed. Wendy Bishop. Boynton/Cook, 1999. Web.
White, Edward M., and Cassie A. Wright. Assigning, Responding, Evaluating: A Writing Teacher’s Guide . 5th ed. Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2015. Print.
A rubric is a type of scoring guide that assesses and articulates specific components and expectations for an assignment. Rubrics can be used for a variety of assignments: research papers, group projects, portfolios and presentations. Why use rubrics?
V alid A ssessment of L earning in U ndergraduate E ducation (VALUE) for improvement of learning and authentic assessment, developed and tested by university professionals through AAC&U.
- Civic Engagement Rubric – VALUE (PDF)
- Creative Thinking Rubric – VALUE (PDF)
- Critical Thinking Rubric – VALUE (PDF)
- Ethical Reasoning Rubric – VALUE (PDF)
- Global Learning Rubric – VALUE (PDF)
- Information Literacy Rubric – VALUE (PDF)
- Inquiry and Analysis Rubric – VALUE (PDF)
- Integrative Learning Rubric – VALUE (PDF)
- Intercultural Knowledge Rubric – VALUE (PDF)
- Lifelong Learning Rubric – VALUE (PDF)
- Oral Communication Rubric – VALUE (PDF)
- Problem Solving Rubric – VALUE (PDF)
- Quantitative Literacy Rubric – VALUE (PDF)
- Reading Rubric – VALUE (PDF)
- Teamwork Rubric – VALUE (PDF)
- Written Communication Rubric – VALUE (PDF)
Other Rubric Examples
- Class Participation Rubric – Carnegie Mellon (PDF)
- Critical and Integrative Thinking Rubric – Washington State Univ (PDF)
- Critical Thinking Rubric – Cal State Univ Fresno (PDF)
- Design Project Rubric (PDF)
- Graduate Portfolio Writing Rubric – Cal State Univ Long Beach (PDF)
- Group Participation Rubric (PDF)
- Group Presentation Rubric – Carnegie Mellon (PDF)
- Levels of Participation Rubric – BGU (PDF)
- Media Design Rubric (PDF)
- Oral Communication Rubric – Carnegie Mellon (PDF)
- Oral Exam Rubric – Carnegie Mellon (PDF)
- Participation (Holistic) Rubric (PDF)
- Seminar Discussion Rubric – Carnegie Mellon (PDF)
- Undergraduate-Research-Paper-Rubric (PDF)
Rubrics by Programs
- College of Arts and Sciences Rubric Examples
- College of Business and Management Rubric Examples
- College of Education and Human Services Rubric Examples
- College of Public Affairs and Administration Rubric Examples
15 Free Rubric Templates
By Kate Eby | August 30, 2018
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Often found in the education sector, a rubric is a tool for scoring performance based on specific criteria. However, businesses also use a rubric to measure things like employee performance and to evaluate the success of a project or product. Below you’ll find a range of free, customizable rubric templates for business and academic use. Save time and create an efficient grading process with easy-to-use, printable rubric templates.
Project Management Rubric
Evaluate project managers’ performance with this Excel rubric template. Enter the stages of a project or important objectives and milestones. Then use the rating scale to judge and provide a basic description of the management of those stages. This template can also be a useful self-evaluation tool for project managers to learn from and inform decision making on future projects.
Download Project Management Rubric
Excel | Word | PDF | Smartsheet
Business Plan Rubric
Break down your business plan into sections and use this rubric to evaluate the strength of each part. Is your mission statement merely sufficient, highly advanced, or somewhere inbetween? Is your market analysis thorough, or does it need to be fleshed out? Use this template to identify weak points and areas for improvement in your business plan.
Download Business Plan Rubric
Job Interview Rubric Template
Use this rubric template to evaluate job interview candidates. Add your own criteria based on the applicant’s resume, references, skills, experience, and other important factors. The template includes a scoring scale with four levels as well as an additional column for criteria that the job candidate is missing or that are not applicable.
Download Job Interview Rubric Template
Excel | Word | PDF
Employee Performance Rubric
Create a rubric for ranking employee performance in selected areas, such as customer service, teamwork, leadership, time management, attendance, and other criteria. This template provides a simple way to create a comprehensive evaluation tool that you can use for multiple employees. This system of measurement helps support a fair evaluation process and provides an overview of an employee’s performance in an organized format.
Download Employee Performance Rubric
Excel | Word | PDF | Smartsheet
Product Rubric Template
Before investing in a new product, use this rubric template to determine how it aligns with your business objectives. You can rank and compare several products to get an idea of which one may offer the best return on investment. This rubric template is available as a Word or fillable PDF file, making it easy to print and use in a team meeting or brainstorming session .
Download Product Rubric Template
Marketing Plan Rubric
Evaluate all the elements of your marketing plan, from research and analysis to strategy and action items. Make sure your marketing plan can stand up to scrutiny and deliver results. Use this rubric template to add up points for each category and calculate a total score. The scoring system will indicate the overall strength of the marketing plan as well as which sections you need to refine or develop further.
Download Marketing Plan Rubric
Excel | Word | PDF
Group Project Rubric Template
This teamwork rubric allows teachers to assess how a group handled a shared project. Evaluate both process and content by including criteria such as supporting materials used, evidence of subject knowledge, organization, and collaboration. The template offers a simple layout, but you can add grading components and detailed criteria for meeting project objectives.
Download Group Project Rubric Template
Art Grading Rubric Template
Create a rubric for grading art projects that illustrates whether students were able to meet or exceed the expectations of an assignment. You can edit this template and use it with any grade level, student ability, or type of art project. Choose your grading criteria based on what you want to evaluate, such as technique, use and care of classroom tools, or creative vision.
Download Art Grading Rubric Template
Science Experiment Rubric
Evaluate science experiments or lab reports with this scoring rubric template. Criteria may be based on the scientific process, how procedures were followed, how data and analysis were handled, and presentation skills (if relevant). Easily modify this rubric template to include additional rows or columns for a detailed look at a student’s performance.
Download Science Experiment Rubric
Poster Rubric Template
This Google Docs rubric template is designed for scoring an elementary school poster assignment. Include whatever elements you want to evaluate — such as graphics used, grammar, time management, or creativity — and add up the total score for each student’s work. Teachers can share the rubric with students to inform them of what to aim for with their poster projects.
Download Poster Rubric Template
Excel | Word | PDF | Google Docs
Research Project Rubric
Use this template to create a research project, written report, or other writing assignment rubric. Assess a student’s analytical and organizational skills, use of references, style and tone, and overall success of completing the assignment. The template includes room for additional comments about the student’s work.
Download Research Project Rubric — Excel
Oral Presentation Rubric Template
List all of the expectations for an effective oral presentation along with a point scale to create a detailed rubric. Areas to assess may include the thoroughness of the project, speaking and presentation skills, use of visual aids, and accuracy. Use this information to support the grading process and to show students areas they need to strengthen.
Download Oral Presentation Rubric Template
Grading Rubric Template
This grading rubric template provides a general outline that you can use to evaluate any type of assignment, project, or work performance. You can also use the template for self-assessment or career planning to help identify skills or training to develop. Quickly save this Google Docs template to your Google Drive account and share it with others.
Download Grading Rubric Template
Blank Rubric Template
Add your own information to this blank, editable template to create an evaluation tool that suits your particular needs. You can download the rubric as a Word or PDF file and start using it immediately. Use color or formatting changes to customize the template for use in a classroom, workplace, or other setting.
Download Blank Rubric Template
Holistic Rubric Template
A holistic rubric provides a more generalized evaluation system by grouping together assignment requirements or performance expectations into a few levels for scoring. This method is different from analytic rubrics, which break down performance criteria into more detailed levels (which allows for more fine-tuned scoring and specific feedback for the student or employee). This holistic rubric template offers a basic outline for defining the characteristics that constitute each scoring level.
Download Holistic Rubric Template
What Is a Rubric Template?
A rubric is a tool for evaluating and scoring performance based on a set of criteria, and it provides an organized and consistent method for evaluation. Teachers commonly use rubrics to evaluate student performance at all levels of education, from elementary and high school to college. They can also be used in business settings to evaluate a project, employee, product, or strategic plan.
How to Make a Rubric Template
A variety of options exist for creating rubrics, including software, online tools, and downloadable templates. Templates provide a simple, reusable, and cost-effective solution for making a basic rubric. After downloading a rubric outline template, you can add your own criteria, text, and increase the number of rows or columns as needed.
All rubrics typically contain some version of the following elements:
- A description of the task to be evaluated
- A rating scale with at least three levels
- The criteria used to judge the task
- Descriptive language to illustrate how well the task (or performance, item, etc.) meets expectations
The rating scale on a rubric is often a combination of numbers and words (language often ranging from low to high, or poor to excellent quality). Using descriptive language allows for a thorough understanding of different elements of a task or performance, while a numeric scale allows you to quantitatively define an overall score. For example, level one may be worth one point and could be described as “beginner,” “low quality,” or “needs improvement;” level two could be worth two points and described as “fair” or “satisfactory.” The scale would continue up from there, ending with the highest level of exemplary performance.
Each of the criteria can be expanded upon with descriptive phrases to illustrate performance expectations. For example, if you were to evaluate an employee, and one of the criteria is communication skills, you would elaborate on each potential level of performance, such as in the following sample phrases:
- Level 1: Rarely shares ideas or exhibits teamwork during meetings or group projects.
- Level 2: Occasionally shares ideas or exhibits teamwork during meetings.
- Level 3: Often shares ideas or exhibits teamwork during meetings or group projects.
- Level 4: Frequently shares ideas or exhibits teamwork in meetings or group projects.
The above copy is just one example phrase with four different qualifiers, but several sentences may be required to demonstrate different aspects of communication skills and how well they are performed in various situations.
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Examples of Rubrics
Here are some rubric examples from different colleges and universities, as well as the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU) VALUE rubrics. We would also like to include examples from Syracuse University faculty and staff. If you would be willing to share your rubric with us, please click here.
- Art and Design Rubric (Rhode Island University)
- Theater Arts Writing Rubric (California State University)
- Holistic Participation Rubric (University of Virginia)
- Large Lecture Courses with TAs (Carnegie Mellon University)
Doctoral Program Milestones
- Qualifying Examination (Syracuse University)
- Comprehensive Core Examination (Portland State University)
- Dissertation Proposal (Portland State University)
- Dissertation (Portland State University)
- Key Competencies in Community-Engaged Learning and Teaching (Campus Compact)
- Global Learning and Intercultural Knowledge (International Cross-Cultural Experiential Learning Evaluation Toolkit)
Humanities and Social Science
- Anthropology Paper (Carnegie Mellon University)
- Economics Paper (University of Kentucky)
- History Paper (Carnegie Mellon University)
- Literary Analysis (Minnesota State University)
- Philosophy Paper (Carnegie Mellon University)
- Psychology Paper (Loyola Marymount University)
- Sociology Paper (University of California)
Media and Design
- Media and Design Elements Rubric (Samford University)
- Physics Paper (Illinois State University)
- Chemistry Paper (Utah State University)
- Biology Research Report (Loyola Marymount University)
- Discussion Forums (Simmons College)
Syracuse University’s Shared Competencies
Ethics, Integrity, and Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion rubric (*pdf)
Critical and Creative Thinking rubric (*pdf)
Scientific Inquiry and Research Skills rubric (*pdf)
Civic and Global Responsibility rubric (*pdf)
Communication Skills rubric (*pdf)
Information Literacy and Technological Agility rubric (*pdf)
- Journal Reflection (The State University of New Jersey)
- Reflection Writing Rubric and Research Project Writing (Carnegie Mellon University)
- Research Paper Rubric (Cornell College)
- Assessment Rubric for Student Reflections
AACU VALUE Rubrics
VALUE (Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education) is a national assessment initiative on college student learning sponsored by AACU as part of its Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP) initiative.
Intellectual and Practical Skills
- Inquiry and Analysis (*pdf)
- Critical Thinking (*pdf)
- Creative Thinking (*pdf)
- Written Communication (*pdf)
- Oral Communication (*pdf)
- Reading (*pdf)
- Quantitative Literacy (*pdf)
- Information Literacy (*pdf)
- Teamwork (*pdf)
- Problem Solving (*pdf)
Personal and Social Responsibility
- Civic Engagement (*pdf)
- Intercultural Knowledge and Competence (*pdf)
- Ethical Reasoning (*pdf)
- Foundations and Skills for Lifelong Learning (*pdf)
- Global Learning (*pdf)
Integrative and Applied Learning
- Integrative Learning (*pdf)
Assessing Institution-Wide Diversity
- Self-Assessment Rubric For the Institutionalization of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Higher Education
What’s Included: Research Paper Template
If you’re preparing to write an academic research paper, our free research paper template is the perfect starting point. In the template, we cover every section step by step, with clear, straightforward explanations and examples .
The template’s structure is based on the tried and trusted best-practice format for formal academic research papers. The template structure reflects the overall research process, ensuring your paper will have a smooth, logical flow from chapter to chapter.
The research paper template covers the following core sections:
- The title page/cover page
- Abstract (sometimes also called the executive summary)
- Section 1: Introduction
- Section 2: Literature review
- Section 3: Methodology
- Section 4: Findings /results
- Section 5: Discussion
- Section 6: Conclusion
- Reference list
Each section is explained in plain, straightforward language , followed by an overview of the key elements that you need to cover within each section. We’ve also included links to free resources to help you understand how to write each section.
The cleanly formatted Google Doc can be downloaded as a fully editable MS Word Document (DOCX format), so you can use it as-is or convert it to LaTeX.
FAQs: Research Paper Template
What format is the template (doc, pdf, ppt, etc.).
The research paper template is provided as a Google Doc. You can download it in MS Word format or make a copy to your Google Drive. You’re also welcome to convert it to whatever format works best for you, such as LaTeX or PDF.
What types of research papers can this template be used for?
The template follows the standard best-practice structure for formal academic research papers, so it is suitable for the vast majority of degrees, particularly those within the sciences.
Some universities may have some additional requirements, but these are typically minor, with the core structure remaining the same. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to double-check your university’s requirements before you finalise your structure.
Is this template for an undergrad, Masters or PhD-level research paper?
This template can be used for a research paper at any level of study. It may be slight overkill for an undergraduate-level study, but it certainly won’t be missing anything.
How long should my research paper be?
This depends entirely on your university’s specific requirements, so it’s best to check with them. We include generic word count ranges for each section within the template, but these are purely indicative.
What about the research proposal?
If you’re still working on your research proposal, we’ve got a template for that here .
We’ve also got loads of proposal-related guides and videos over on the Grad Coach blog .
How do I write a literature review?
We have a wealth of free resources on the Grad Coach Blog that unpack how to write a literature review from scratch. You can check out the literature review section of the blog here.
How do I create a research methodology?
We have a wealth of free resources on the Grad Coach Blog that unpack research methodology, both qualitative and quantitative. You can check out the methodology section of the blog here.
Can I share this research paper template with my friends/colleagues?
Yes, you’re welcome to share this template. If you want to post about it on your blog or social media, all we ask is that you reference this page as your source.
Can Grad Coach help me with my research paper?
Within the template, you’ll find plain-language explanations of each section, which should give you a fair amount of guidance. However, you’re also welcome to consider our private coaching services .
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Rubrics are a set of criteria to evaluate performance on an assignment or assessment. Rubrics can communicate expectations regarding the quality of work to students and provide a standardized framework for instructors to assess work. Rubrics can be used for both formative and summative assessment. They are also crucial in encouraging self-assessment of work and structuring peer-assessments.
Why use rubrics?
Rubrics are an important tool to assess learning in an equitable and just manner. This is because they enable:
- A common set of standards and criteria to be uniformly applied, which can mitigate bias
- Transparency regarding the standards and criteria on which students are evaluated
- Efficient grading with timely and actionable feedback
- Identifying areas in which students need additional support and guidance
- The use of objective, criterion-referenced metrics for evaluation
Some instructors may be reluctant to provide a rubric to grade assessments under the perception that it stifles student creativity (Haugnes & Russell, 2018). However, sharing the purpose of an assessment and criteria for success in the form of a rubric along with relevant examples has been shown to particularly improve the success of BIPOC, multiracial, and first-generation students (Jonsson, 2014; Winkelmes, 2016). Improved success in assessments is generally associated with an increased sense of belonging which, in turn, leads to higher student retention and more equitable outcomes in the classroom (Calkins & Winkelmes, 2018; Weisz et al., 2023). By not providing a rubric, faculty may risk having students guess the criteria on which they will be evaluated. When students have to guess what expectations are, it may unfairly disadvantage students who are first-generation, BIPOC, international, or otherwise have not been exposed to the cultural norms that have dominated higher-ed institutions in the U.S (Shapiro et al., 2023). Moreover, in such cases, criteria may be applied inconsistently for students leading to biases in grades awarded to students.
Steps for Creating a Rubric
Clearly state the purpose of the assessment, which topic(s) learners are being tested on, the type of assessment (e.g., a presentation, essay, group project), the skills they are being tested on (e.g., writing, comprehension, presentation, collaboration), and the goal of the assessment for instructors (e.g., gauging formative or summative understanding of the topic).
Determine the specific criteria or dimensions to assess in the assessment. These criteria should align with the learning objectives or outcomes to be evaluated. These criteria typically form the rows in a rubric grid and describe the skills, knowledge, or behavior to be demonstrated. The set of criteria may include, for example, the idea/content, quality of arguments, organization, grammar, citations and/or creativity in writing. These criteria may form separate rows or be compiled in a single row depending on the type of rubric.
(See row headers of Figure 1 )
Create a scale of performance levels that describe the degree of proficiency attained for each criterion. The scale typically has 4 to 5 levels (although there may be fewer levels depending on the type of rubrics used). The rubrics should also have meaningful labels (e.g., not meeting expectations, approaching expectations, meeting expectations, exceeding expectations). When assigning levels of performance, use inclusive language that can inculcate a growth mindset among students, especially when work may be otherwise deemed to not meet the mark. Some examples include, “Does not yet meet expectations,” “Considerable room for improvement,” “ Progressing,” “Approaching,” “Emerging,” “Needs more work,” instead of using terms like “Unacceptable,” “Fails,” “Poor,” or “Below Average.”
(See column headers of Figure 1 )
Develop a clear and concise descriptor for each combination of criterion and performance level. These descriptors should provide examples or explanations of what constitutes each level of performance for each criterion. Typically, instructors should start by describing the highest and lowest level of performance for that criterion and then describing intermediate performance for that criterion. It is important to keep the language uniform across all columns, e.g., use syntax and words that are aligned in each column for a given criteria.
(See cells of Figure 1 )
It is important to consider how each criterion is weighted and for each criterion to reflect the importance of learning objectives being tested. For example, if the primary goal of a research proposal is to test mastery of content and application of knowledge, these criteria should be weighted more heavily compared to other criteria (e.g., grammar, style of presentation). This can be done by associating a different scoring system for each criteria (e.g., Following a scale of 8-6-4-2 points for each level of performance in higher weight criteria and 4-3-2-1 points for each level of performance for lower weight criteria). Further, the number of points awarded across levels of performance should be evenly spaced (e.g., 10-8-6-4 instead of 10-6-3-1). Finally, if there is a letter grade associated with a particular assessment, consider how it relates to scores. For example, instead of having students receive an A only if they received the highest level of performance on each criterion, consider assigning an A grade to a range of scores (28 - 30 total points) or a combination of levels of performance (e.g., exceeds expectations on higher weight criteria and meets expectations on other criteria).
(See the numerical values in the column headers of Figure 1 )
Figure 1: Graphic describing the five basic elements of a rubric
Note : Consider using a template rubric that can be used to evaluate similar activities in the classroom to avoid the fatigue of developing multiple rubrics. Some tools include Rubistar or iRubric which provide suggested words for each criteria depending on the type of assessment. Additionally, the above format can be incorporated in rubrics that can be directly added in Canvas or in the grid view of rubrics in gradescope which are common grading tools. Alternately, tables within a Word processor or Spreadsheet may also be used to build a rubric. You may also adapt the example rubrics provided below to the specific learning goals for the assessment using the blank template rubrics we have provided against each type of rubric. Watch the linked video for a quick introduction to designing a rubric .
Types of Rubrics
In these rubrics, one specifies at least two criteria and provides a separate score for each criterion. The steps outlined above for creating a rubric are typical for an analytic style rubric. Analytic rubrics are used to provide detailed feedback to students and help identify strengths as well as particular areas in need of improvement. These can be particularly useful when providing formative feedback to students, for student peer assessment and self-assessments, or for project-based summative assessments that evaluate student learning across multiple criteria. You may use a blank analytic rubric template (link forces copy of a Google Doc) or adapt an existing sample of an analytic rubric .
Fig 2: Graphic describing a sample analytic rubric (adopted from George Mason University, 2013)
These are a subset of analytical rubrics that are typically used to assess student performance and engagement during a learning period but not the end product. Such rubrics are typically used to assess soft skills and behaviors that are less tangible (e.g., intercultural maturity, empathy, collaboration skills). These rubrics are useful in assessing the extent to which students develop a particular skill, ability, or value in experiential learning based programs or skills. They are grounded in the theory of development (King, 2005). Examples include an intercultural knowledge and competence rubric and a global learning rubric .
These rubrics consider all criteria evaluated on one scale, providing a single score that gives an overall impression of a student’s performance on an assessment.These rubrics also emphasize the overall quality of a student’s work, rather than delineating shortfalls of their work. However, a limitation of the holistic rubrics is that they are not useful for providing specific, nuanced feedback or to identify areas of improvement. Thus, they might be useful when grading summative assessments in which students have previously received detailed feedback using analytic or single-point rubrics. They may also be used to provide quick formative feedback for smaller assignments where not more than 2-3 criteria are being tested at once. Try using our blank holistic rubric template (link forces copy of a google doc) or adapt an existing sample of holistic rubric .
Fig 3: Graphic describing a sample holistic rubric (adopted from Teaching Commons, DePaul University)
These rubrics contain only two levels of performance (e.g., yes/no, present/absent) across a longer list of criteria (beyond 5 levels). Checklist rubrics have the advantage of providing a quick assessment of criteria given the binary assessment of criteria that are either met or are not met. Consequently, they are preferable when initiating self- or peer-assessments of learning given that it simplifies evaluations to be more objective and criteria can elicit only one of two responses allowing uniform and quick grading. For similar reasons, such rubrics are useful for faculty in providing quick formative feedback since it immediately highlights the specific criteria to improve on. Such rubrics are also used in grading summative assessments in courses utilizing alternative grading systems such as specifications grading, contract grading or a credit/no credit grading system wherein a minimum threshold of performance has to be met for the assessment. Having said that, developing rubrics from existing analytical rubrics may require considerable investment upfront given that criteria have to be phrased in a way that can only elicit binary responses. Here is a link to the checklist rubric template (link forces copy of a Google Doc).
Fig. 4: Graphic describing a sample checklist rubric
A single point rubric is a modified version of a checklist style rubric, in that it specifies a single column of criteria. However, rather than only indicating whether expectations are met or not, as happens in a checklist rubric, a single point rubric allows instructors to specify ways in which criteria exceeds or does not meet expectations. Here the criteria to be tested are laid out in a central column describing the average expectation for the assignment. Instructors indicate areas of improvement on the left side of the criteria, whereas areas of strength in student performance are indicated on the right side. These types of rubrics provide flexibility in scoring, and are typically used in courses with alternative grading systems such as ungrading or contract grading. However, they do require the instructors to provide detailed feedback for each student, which can be unfeasible for assessments in large classes. Here is a link to the single point rubric template (link forces copy of a Google Doc).
Fig. 5 Graphic describing a single point rubric (adopted from Teaching Commons, DePaul University)
Best Practices for Designing and Implementing Rubrics
When designing the rubric format, descriptors and criteria should be presented in a way that is compatible with screen readers and reading assistive technology. For example, avoid using only color, jargon, or complex terminology to convey information. In case you do use color, pictures or graphics, try providing alternative formats for rubrics, such as plain text documents. Explore resources from the CU Digital Accessibility Office to learn more.
Co-creating rubrics can help students to engage in higher-order thinking skills such as analysis and evaluation. Further, it allows students to take ownership of their own learning by determining the criteria of their work they aspire towards. For graduate classes or upper-level students, one way of doing this may be to provide learning outcomes of the project, and let students develop the rubric on their own. However, students in introductory classes may need more scaffolding by providing them a draft and leaving room for modification (Stevens & Levi 2013). Watch the linked video for tips on co-creating rubrics with students . Further, involving teaching assistants in designing a rubric can help in getting feedback on expectations for an assessment prior to implementing and norming a rubric.
When first designing a rubric, it is important to compare grades awarded for the same assessment by multiple graders to make sure the criteria are applied uniformly and reliably for the same level of performance. Further, ensure that the levels of performance in student work can be adequately distinguished using a rubric. Such a norming protocol is particularly important to also do at the start of any course in which multiple graders use the same rubric to grade an assessment (e.g., recitation sections, lab sections, teaching team). Here, instructors may select a subset of assignments that all graders evaluate using the same rubric, followed by a discussion to identify any discrepancies in criteria applied and ways to address them. Such strategies can make the rubrics more reliable, effective, and clear.
Sharing the rubric with students prior to an assessment can help familiarize students with an instructor’s expectations. This can help students master their learning outcomes by guiding their work in the appropriate direction and increase student motivation. Further, providing the rubric to students can help encourage metacognition and ability to self-assess learning.
Below are links to rubric templates designed by a team of experts assembled by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) to assess 16 major learning goals. These goals are a part of the Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education (VALUE) program. All of these examples are analytic rubrics and have detailed criteria to test specific skills. However, since any given assessment typically tests multiple skills, instructors are encouraged to develop their own rubric by utilizing criteria picked from a combination of the rubrics linked below.
- Civic knowledge and engagement-local and global
- Creative thinking
- Critical thinking
- Ethical reasoning
- Foundations and skills for lifelong learning
- Information literacy
- Integrative and applied learning
- Intercultural knowledge and competence
- Inquiry and analysis
- Oral communication
- Problem solving
- Quantitative literacy
- Written Communication
Note : Clicking on the above links will automatically download them to your device in Microsoft Word format. These links have been created and are hosted by Kansas State University . Additional information regarding the VALUE Rubrics may be found on the AAC&U homepage .
Below are links to sample rubrics that have been developed for different types of assessments. These rubrics follow the analytical rubric template, unless mentioned otherwise. However, these rubrics can be modified into other types of rubrics (e.g., checklist, holistic or single point rubrics) based on the grading system and goal of assessment (e.g., formative or summative). As mentioned previously, these rubrics can be modified using the blank template provided.
- Oral presentations
- Painting Portfolio (single-point rubric)
- Research Paper
- Video Storyboard
Office of Assessment and Curriculum Support. (n.d.). Creating and using rubrics . University of Hawai’i, Mānoa
Calkins, C., & Winkelmes, M. A. (2018). A teaching method that boosts UNLV student retention . UNLV Best Teaching Practices Expo , 3.
Fraile, J., Panadero, E., & Pardo, R. (2017). Co-creating rubrics: The effects on self-regulated learning, self-efficacy and performance of establishing assessment criteria with students. Studies In Educational Evaluation , 53, 69-76
Haugnes, N., & Russell, J. L. (2016). Don’t box me in: Rubrics for àrtists and Designers . To Improve the Academy , 35 (2), 249–283.
Jonsson, A. (2014). Rubrics as a way of providing transparency in assessment , Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education , 39(7), 840-852
McCartin, L. (2022, February 1). Rubrics! an equity-minded practice . University of Northern Colorado
Shapiro, S., Farrelly, R., & Tomaš, Z. (2023). Chapter 4: Effective and Equitable Assignments and Assessments. Fostering International Student Success in higher education (pp, 61-87, second edition). TESOL Press.
Stevens, D. D., & Levi, A. J. (2013). Introduction to rubrics: An assessment tool to save grading time, convey effective feedback, and promote student learning (second edition). Sterling, VA: Stylus.
Teaching Commons (n.d.). Types of Rubrics . DePaul University
Teaching Resources (n.d.). Rubric best practices, examples, and templates . NC State University
Winkelmes, M., Bernacki, M., Butler, J., Zochowski, M., Golanics, J., & Weavil, K.H. (2016). A teaching intervention that increases underserved college students’ success . Peer Review , 8(1/2), 31-36.
Weisz, C., Richard, D., Oleson, K., Winkelmes, M.-A., Powley, C., Sadik, A., & Stone, B. (in progress, 2023). Transparency, confidence, belonging and skill development among 400 community college students in the state of Washington .
Association of American Colleges and Universities. (2009). Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education (VALUE) .
Canvas Community. (2021, August 24). How do I add a rubric in a course? Canvas LMS Community.
Center for Teaching & Learning. (2021, March 03). Overview of Rubrics . University of Colorado, Boulder
Center for Teaching & Learning. (2021, March 18). Best practices to co-create rubrics with students . University of Colorado, Boulder.
Chase, D., Ferguson, J. L., & Hoey, J. J. (2014). Assessment in creative disciplines: Quantifying and qualifying the aesthetic . Common Ground Publishing.
Feldman, J. (2018). Grading for equity: What it is, why it matters, and how it can transform schools and classrooms . Corwin Press, CA.
Gradescope (n.d.). Instructor: Assignment - Grade Submissions . Gradescope Help Center.
Henning, G., Baker, G., Jankowski, N., Lundquist, A., & Montenegro, E. (Eds.). (2022). Reframing assessment to center equity . Stylus Publishing.
King, P. M. & Baxter Magolda, M. B. (2005). A developmental model of intercultural maturity . Journal of College Student Development . 46(2), 571-592.
Selke, M. J. G. (2013). Rubric assessment goes to college: Objective, comprehensive evaluation of student work. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.
The Institute for Habits of Mind. (2023, January 9). Creativity Rubrics - The Institute for Habits of Mind .
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