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August 8, 2019

Robust Rubrics: A Powerful Way to Evaluate Student Performance

In this blog post, we're highlighting a powerful teaching methodology: rubrics.

According to acsd.org, “A rubric is a coherent set of criteria for students' work that includes descriptions of levels of performance quality on the criteria.” Rubrics serve as a robust way to evaluate student performance; when integrated into assessments, they provide numerous benefits for both teachers and students. You can take advantage of this robust teaching method on Pear Assessment (formerly Edulastic): it’s a super convenient feature available to all Pear AssessmentTeacher Premium and Enterprise users!

Why use rubrics?

Rubrics are a widely supported scoring method because of the numerous perks and benefits for teachers and students.

Benefits for teachers:    

First and foremost, this method promotes efficiency. Rubrics allow teachers to save time grading since they define a single set of mastery standards for all students. When grading, teachers can easily select the student’s mastery of each standard on the rubric instead of having to rewrite each student’s mastery individually.  

Secondly, it provides diagnostic information. Since rubrics clearly define distinct levels of student performance quality, it allows teachers to more tangibly analyze patterns in mastery. This helps define student weaknesses so teachers can improve curriculum. 

Finally, using rubrics fosters consistency. When teachers use the same rubrics for all students, they keep grading fair and consistent by using the same grading criteria across all students.  

Benefits for Students:    

The most direct student benefit is that it clarifies expectations. When students see rubrics before they approach a question, they understand exactly what is expected of them, improving teacher-student communication.

Rubrics also provide concrete feedback. When students check their graded rubrics, they see specific evaluations of performance quality in each individual rubric criteria, which can serve as concrete points students can improve on.

How To Make Rubrics

Of course, rubrics are only effective when designed thoughtfully. Thoughtco created a wonderful 6-step guide to creating organized and meaningful rubrics. Here is a summarized version:  

  1. Define Your Goal: Determine your expectations for students, performance standards, the importance of tasks, and the level of detail in feedback you want to provide.
  2. Choose a Rubric Type: Analytic rubrics are a popular rubric type that are more detailed and contain multiple criteria and performance levels for each criteria. Holistic rubrics are another popular rubric type that assign students one overall rating for a single criteria.
  3. Determine Your Criteria: Choose 4-7 specific and measurable learning objectives that you expect students to meet.
  4. Create Your Performance Levels (Ratings): Choose a range of scores, usually 3-5 levels, to grade performance in each criteria.
  5. Write Descriptors for Each Level: Write short statements for each performance level defining expectations for each performance level.
  6. Revise your Rubric: Make sure that each criteria is a reflective evaluation of student performance and that your language throughout is specific and measurable.

Why Use Pear Assessment for Rubrics?

Teachers love using rubrics on Pear Assessment because we further enhance the existing benefits of using rubrics with our specific rubric features


You can easily add a rubric to any Pear Assessment essay type question. When you’re making an essay question, just click the “Create New Rubric” or “Use Existing Rubric” button. Check out this quick video to walk you through the simple process.  


After you set up your Pear Assessment rubric, you can edit and reuse it on other questions and assessments through the “Use Existing Rubric” button that pops up while you’re creating other questions. You can even use any rubric created and shared by other instructors in your school district.    


When creating rubrics on Pear Assessment, you can add as many performance criteria and performance ratings as you want. You can also customize the way students interact with rubrics. If you select Pear Assessment’s Super Power "Show Rubric to Students" feature, students can view the ungraded rubric before answering the question.  

Ready for rubrics?

Learn more about adding rubrics to Pear Assessment.


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Pear Assessment Team

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