Rubrics are an integrated part of an assessment system and must be accounted for in the development process. Whether you are working in a traditional classroom or creating online courses, rubrics must not be left until the end of course development.
Rubrics at Virtualhighschool.com and Hekademia use a custom points scheme to determine the score of a student’s work. Recall from “Rubrics Part 2”, that the number of criteria multiplied by the points for each criterion determines the total points available on the rubric and the total points available for the assignment. Therefore, if you are working in an online environment with a Learning Environment (LE), rubrics must be created before a score is assigned to the activity because the scores must align in the dropbox folder and grade book for that assignment. If a score for a dropbox or grade item is arbitrarily assigned before the rubric is created, the scores from the criterion are unlikely to align, and the dropbox and grade item will have to be re-vised. This can be especially difficult if the course has launched and rubrics are being implemented as a post-launch task.
Similarly, if you are working in a traditional classroom, the rubrics must be created before the assignment is delivered to the students, so that the grading scheme for the assignment is available.
Practical reasons aside, it is still important to develop rubrics during the course development process and not after. The purpose of rubrics is to make the assessment process transparent and to make clear to students the expectations for an assignment. With this in mind, rubrics should be regarded as a tool for determining the overall score of an assignment, and not as an after thought.
Creating rubrics is a complex task and is best done with the support of colleagues, department heads, and a rubric specialist at your institution. Have someone you trust review the rubric for pedagogical issues, content area issues, and for spelling and grammar.
If you have any questions or comments about this post or rubrics in general, leave a message in the comments below, find me on twitter @TonyStecca, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.