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Using Rubrics

What are they?

Rubrics are a teaching and grading tool which allow you to formalise grading schema for an assessment item. They also help instructors communicate their grading methodology and expectations to students. Rubrics are not exclusively related to summative assessment - they may be used for feedback in any kind of assessment.

How does Blackboard implement rubrics?

In Blackboard, rubrics are a list of criteria and expectations related to the learning objective of a particular exercise or assessment item, along with a description and associated grade weightings or scores.

Rubrics can be associated with the following tools:

  • Blackboard Assignments (not Turnitin - Turnitin has a seperate implementation of rubrics)
  • Discussion board forums/threads
  • Some test question types (essay, file upload)
  • As you work through a Rubric set for an assignment, the scores for each criteria are automatically fed into the Grade centre.

Creating a Rubric

  • In your module, go to the Control Panel. Select Module Tools, then select Rubrics.
  • In the Rubrics page, select the Create Rubric button.
  • On the Create Rubric page, enter a Name (required) and optionally, a description of your Rubric:
Screenshot of Rubric editor showing title and description

Grid Overview

Screenshot of Rubric editor showing components

Here you can see all of the major components of the rubric grid. The grid aligns assessment criteria against corresponding levels of achievement. You can have multiple criteria and many levels of achievement, but the default grid is a three by three.

Modifying the grid

Screenshot of Rubric editor showing column edit buttons

Use these options to adjust the properties of the grid: the number of columns for achievement, the number of rows of assessment criteria, the rubric type, and the weight for each criteria.

  1. Select Add Row to add new criteria to the bottom of the grid. Select Add Column to add a new level of achievement to the grid.
  2. Select a Rubric Type from the drop-down list:
    • No Points (feedback only)
    • Points (single value for each achievement)
    • Point Range (range of values for each achievement)
    • Percent (flexible depending on each assessment's possible points)
  3. Select Show Criteria Weight box to show or hide criteria weights.

Note: row and column headings like these are fully editable:

Screenshot of Rubric editor showing rubric headings

Once you have finished editing your rubric you should press the Submit button. You should recieve a confirmation of success.

Using Rubrics in assessments

Once you have created a rubric, you can attach it to an assessment item (Discussions, Assessments and some test questions).

In the Create or Edit screen of your assessment, Click Add Rubric under Section 3, Grading.

Screenshot of control to associate a Rubric with an assessable content type

Click Select Rubric and choose the rubric to apply to the assignment:

Screenshot of Rubric selection

The assignment editing interface will show you all of the currently attached rubrics, as well as options for adding, removing and editing the properties of the currently attached rubrics.

Submit your selection, finish configuring the options for your assignment type, and then submit the assignment:

Screenshot of Rubric selection

If multiple rubrics are associated, only one can be the primary grading rubric.

Grading with Rubrics

You can access the Rubrics in an assessment item via the Full Grade Centre or Needs Grading Control Panel menu items.

  • Right click the chevron selector inside the attempt you wish to grade with a rubric and select View Grade Details
  • Screenshot of Gradecentre interface.
  • In the Attempt details, select View Rubric
  • Screenshot of Rubric interface showing View Rubric button.
  • In the Rubric Grid click a points scored cell and enter the amount scored for that component, or click to set the points or points range achieved (this will depend on what kind of Rubric you created)
  • Screenshot of Rubric interface showing criteria and grading selection.
  • Enter any Feedback to the Student in the Feedback textbox
  • As you work through the rubric, a Raw Total score (rounded to two decimal places) will update to reflect your choices.
  • Note you can override this score manually using the input labelled "Change the number of points"

Other features

When adding or editing an assignment, it is possible to specify multiple rubrics per assessment item, to satisfy different goals. You might elect to have one rubric for grading, and a secondary rubric for another evaluation purpose. Multiple rubrics will be listed in the Grading section of the assessment item Add or Edit screen:

Rubrics that have been added to the assignment will be listed. Note it is not possible to have more than one grading Rubric.

Rubrics in tests

You can add a rubric to a question in a Blackboard Test in the Test Canvas when you create an essay or file upload question:

  1. In Section 3, Rubrics, Select Add Rubric then click Select Rubric
  2. Choose the Rubric(s) you wish to apply to the question and press Submit. (If you selected more than one, you will need to decide which one is to be used for Grading)
  3. Complete the options for the question type and Submit.


Importing and exporting rubrics

You can use Blackboard's export and import functions to reuse and share rubrics throughout your modules.

To export a rubric, select Modules tools from the Module menu and then select Rubrics. Now select the rubric you wish to export and click the Export button - you can then choose the export location.

Screenshot of Rubric interface showing export button.

If you select the location as your Computer, you'll be presented with a Download button.

Likewise, to import, select Modules tools from the Module menu and then select Rubrics. Click the Import button and locate your rubric file, then click Submit.

Screenshot of Rubric interface showing import button.

Your rubric will now import (you'll be shown a confirmation screen) and it is ready to attach to assessable items.