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thoughts on rubrics



What are the pros and cons of rubrics for you? Do you use them? Our school still uses E S N...grades. If you used these or still do, how do you feel about rubrics...how do I use rubrics when my school still uses these letter grades?


Senior Member

My understanding is that rubrics can be used with letter grades, percentages or number scales. Our rubrics and report cards uses a 5 point scale as such:

5 - Excellent achievement of grade level learner expectations-
(Understands and applies new concepts in a wide variety of learning situations. Consistently uses required skills and strategies effectively.)
4 - Very Good achievement of grade level learner expectations-
(understands and applies new concepts to most learning situations. Frequently uses required skills and strategies effectively.)
3- Satisfactory achievement of grade level learner expectations-
(Understands and applies concepts to specific learning situations. Uses most required skills and strategies appropriately.)
2- Improvement needed in meeting grade level learner expectations-
(Requires repeated instruction to understand and apply new concepts in learning situations. Needs much support to use required skills and strategies.)
1- Not yet meeting level learning expectations -
(Unable to understand and/or apply new concepts in learning situations. Has great difficulty using skills and stategies.)

When I mark anything, I use this as a guide and give each student a mark from 1 to 5. The mark of 3 is acceptable but most of our parents like to see a 4 or 5 on the work.

When marking effort, organization, prepared for class, positive attitude, neatness, following classroom routines, respect for others, respect for property, etc, we use the same scale:

3=most of the time(occasional reminder)
2=requires adult assistance (frequent reminders)
1=not yet (this is reserved for very severe cases!)

The rubrics are helpful but you must first decide on the criteria that goes with each score. What one person thinks "organizes material for learning" means could be totally different from what another thinks. Our staff (k-6) took a look at the report card descriptors and brainstormed what criteria went with each descriptor. This helped a lot. I base my academic rubric criteria on the curriculum statements (benchmarks).:D

Something else that works well is to ask the children what they would give themselves, based on the rubric, compared to what you would give them. They can often tell you what they could have improved on to raise a mark of a 3 to a 4 or 5.
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Full Member

I tried using rubrics in conjunction with what my district calls "exemplars". I found that if I give the rubric to the students and discuss it as well as show the examples (sometimes I have to make the samples myself) for each of the rubric scores before they begin an assignment, my students aim higher. They know just what the expectations are. It also helps me to easily point out what's lacking (or what's great) about student work without any fuss or arguing. For example, a student thinks the work is terrific, but it doesn't meet the rubric or exemplar criteria. I just point out something like " the rubric says 5 facts for each habitat; how many did you include?" My students usually just take the paper and go back and rework it. As far as your grades of E S N, maybe you could use words like Wow! You've Got It, and Not Yet for the column headings. Personally, I like using rubrics and exemplars, probably because when I'm asked to prepare something myself, I like to know exactly what's supposed to be included and how to set it up. Just my opinion!


Senior Member

Maybe it's just because rubrics were drilled into my head when I was in college, but I always try to use rubrics, especially for writing assignments or projects. That way the students know exactly what they need to do to earn all their points (I always tell them there are no surprises), and it helps me to grade fairly. I have also gotten good feedback from parents when I use rubrics.

I would say that if your school uses E, S, and N, then you could use those as the headings for each rubric column (instead of points). The students would know what would earn them an E.


Rubruc Examples

Would any of you mind share your rubric examples for a basic 5th or 6th grade writing assignment? Thanks!



I find rubrics to be a great thing for the most part! I give them out for projects. It helps to let the students know how I will be grading them and what I'm expecting. I guess that's the pro. The con is that I still feel that it can be hard to grade, but that would be the case with any project. Projects aren't like assignments where you just place a check mark next to wrong answers. Projects are more subjective than that, and I find that subjective grading is harder. The rubric does make subjective grading easier, IMO, but it doesn't make it as easy as correcting a simple worksheet!


Senior Member
to Abbigail

I have some writing rubrics that I used when I taught 6th grade English, and I've attached them to this email. I have some better ones, but none are on my computer. I use Rubistar to get a lot of ideas (Google "Rubistar") for what to include in my rubrics, and I also include a skill that we've been working on in class. Hope this helps.
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  • Mythology Rubric.doc
    40.5 KB
  • Choice Novel Assignment Rubric.doc
    37 KB



I like to use rubrics to grade major assessments at the end of a unit of study. I share these with parents at coference time. They can see what the expectations were, and how their child met them. I also have students create their own rubric for specific assessments. I usually have a higher quality of work turned in when this happens.

Teach 5

Senior Member

I love Rubrics for writing projects, book reports, class projects, etc.
I also use Rubistar.
the website is:

It will guide you in making a rubric for anything.

I transfer a range of points into a letter grade, A, B, C, etc. Then for those kids that get an A, I enter a 96 in my report card program, 88 for B, 80 for C, and so on, depending on your grading scale.
For example a Rubric which has 4 categories with 5 points in each category.
17-20 points total would be an A 96%
13-16 points total would be a B 88%.
12-9 points total C 80%

Hope this helps.


Full Member

I've used rubrics many times for assignments even though my school used letter grades. The parents had some problems at the begining understanding what they were/how to read them, but after a while they liked them because it made it more clear how and why their child recieved the grade they did.:s)