Make a Rubric in Less Than 5 Minutes
Using rubrics is an easy way to grade student papers and projects. Rubrics let students know what teachers expect on assignments and give teachers a standardized, compact checklist from which to grade. The best part about rubrics is that they're easy to make; you could make a rubric for almost any assignment in less than five minutes! Read on to learn how.
The basic idea behind any rubric is to score students based on their effort, performance and ability to follow directions. The first step to creating a rubric, then, is to write down exactly what you expect in a project. Make bullet points that clearly indicate what the student should turn in. For example, with an essay, you would probably write down "introduction," "body," and "conclusion." Within each bullet point, write down the elements necessary for successful completion of that section. Again, with an essay you might put "thesis," "hook," and "creativity" under "introduction." Continue to do this for all the main bullets you listed.
After you've identified the components of a project and how to create these components successfully, you're ready to add a few more sections to your rubric. Most teachers like to reward students for technical ability and creativity. So, for example, you may want to include sections for grammar and originality on your essay rubric. If you're making a rubric to grade an artistic project, you might want to include something abstract like "effort" for students who may not be the best artists but still try hard. Write down anything that you would consider when assigning a grade for a project.
Rubrics come in a variety of forms, but the most common types are table rubrics and list rubrics. If you'd like to use a list form, then you've already got a basic outline set with your main points and supporting details. For a table, make the main points run down the left side of your page. Across the top, write in evaluative terms from poor work to excellent. Then, under the excellent column, write your ideal project descriptive terms according to the elements you've listed. Fill in a description of the project under each other skill level too. For example, under "good," you would fill in a description of a project that's almost perfect; "poor" would be a project that meets none of your expectations.
Next, determine the points you'd like to make each component of the project worth. It's easiest if you make your points add up to 100; then, you'll have the student's grade just by adding together the points he or she obtains. Alternatively, you could make total points any number that suits your grading system. Go through each bullet point and assign points for that section. Then, break down these points among the subsections you added. Let's consider the essay example again: you might decide that the "introduction" section is worth 20 points. Of that 20, you could break down the subcomponents so the thesis is worth 10 points, the hook, five, and creativity worth another five points. In a table system, each capsule is usually worth a certain number of points. For example, an introduction that's rated "good" according to all the descriptive terms would get five points, while "poor" would only get one.
Continue to assign point values until you've filled out all sections of the rubric. And then you're done! You've just completed your first rubric. Of course, your rubric will need to be typed, formatted and saved so you can use it for multiple projects in the future. But, all in all, the process of creating a rubric should take no longer than five minutes to write it down and another 10 to type it up.
Once you've make your rubric, distribute it to your students before their project is due. This way, they'll know exactly what you're looking for. They'll be able to better meet your expectations, and you'll be able to grade your students' work to a standard. Rubrics, therefore, work wonderfully for everyone. Once you use your first rubric, you'll be hooked!
Is 5 minutes too long? If you would like to create rubrics in seconds, you could always use our Rubric Maker.
Available Printable Rubrics By Category
General | Language Arts | Math | Process | Science | Social Studies
Premade Printable Rubric Collections
- K-12 Everyday Rubric Pack
- K-12 Math Rubric Collection
- K-12 Project Rubric Collection
- K-12 Reading Rubric Collection
- K-12 Science Rubric Pack
- K-12 Social Studies Rubric Pack
- K-12 Writing Rubric Collection
Learn All About Rubrics
- 10 Uses for Rubrics You Never Thought Of
- 5 Features of a Highly Effective Rubric
- How Rubrics Make Elementary Teachers Day Easy!
- How Rubrics Make Middle School and High School Teachers Day Easy!
- How Rubrics Make Scoring Quick And Easy
- How to Create an Outline for a Rubric
- How to Make a Rubric in Less Than 5 Minutes
- How to Tell If Your Rubric Works?
- Students Grading Themselves? - Rubrics Can Change Everything
- The Pros and Cons of Using Rubrics
- Why Rubrics?
The practice of using single point rubrics is slowly but surely catching on. The simplicity of these rubrics — with just a single column of criteria, rather than a full menu of performance levels — offers a whole host of benefits:
- Teachers find them easier and faster to create, because they no longer have to spend precious time thinking up all the different ways students could fail to meet expectations.
- Students find them easier to read when preparing an assignment. With only the target expectations to focus on, they are more likely to read those expectations.
- They allow for higher-quality feedback, because teachers must specify key problem areas and notable areas of excellence for that particular student, rather than choosing from a list of generic descriptions.
Want to Learn More?
I first talked about this type of rubric in an earlier post (Know Your Terms: Holistic, Analytic, and Single-Point Rubrics), and again in a post I wrote for Brilliant or Insane (Your Rubric is a Hot Mess; Here’s How to Fix It). If this is the first time you’ve encountered this type of rubric, reading both of these will give you some background knowledge on all the different types of rubrics and why the single-point deserves world domination.
Show Us Your Rubrics!
I urge you to take one of your most convoluted rubrics and make a single-point version of it. Then show it to the world, so other teachers can learn: Take a screenshot of it and post the picture on Twitter with the hashtag #singlepointrubric. If you aren’t on Twitter or don’t feel like doing this, just put a link to your rubric in the comments below. Help us start a movement to rid the world of ineffective rubrics!
Another Variation (Added in 2017)
After considering some of the limitations of this format, I played around with the rubric a bit more and came up with this variation:
The original version of the single point rubric allowed no space for actually pointing out when the student hit the standard, apart from maybe circling or highlighting the middle column. With this format, teachers can pinpoint where the student is on each descriptor, then offer feedback, either constructive, positive, or both.
To grab a copy of this for your own modification, click here.
Need Ready-Made Rubrics?
My Rubric Pack gives you four different designs in Microsoft Word and Google Docs formats. It also comes with video tutorials to show you how to customize them for any need, plus a Teacher’s Manual to help you understand the pros and cons of each style. Check it out here:
Join my mailing listand never miss another post. You’ll get weekly tips, tools, and inspiration — in quick, bite-sized packages — all geared toward making your teaching more effective and joyful. To thank you, I’ll send you a free copy of my new e-booklet, 20 Ways to Cut Your Grading Time in Half. I look forward to getting to know you better!