Rubrics and Why to Use Them

While the other examples are all tools for designing quality courses, and conducting quality assurance for those courses, some internal tools are important within the course to ensure that learners are developing the skills and gaining the knowledge necessary to be successful in the course.  This is the “proof” part of learning.

Rubrics enable the measurement of learner performance against criteria.  They can be graded, but are not necessarily used as a mechanism for assigning grades or scores.

Jon Mueller describes this as:

 A student’s aptitude on a task is determined by matching the student’s performance against a set of criteria to determine the degree to which the student’s performance meets the criteria for the task.  To measure student performance against a pre-determined set of criteria, a rubric, or scoring scale, is typically created which contains the essential criteria for the task and appropriate levels of performance for each criterion.

Find more information on his great toolbox site here:

Have you ever been in a class and gotten a paper back with a random number on it and some scribbled comments in the margins?  Did it provide you with a comprehensive sense of where you met expectations, where you exceeded them, and if you needed to improve, what specifically you could do better next time?  No?  Not surprising.  Rubrics enable learners to have a richer understanding of how to adjust their own learning as well as how to predict their own success by using rubrics as tools to prepare for assessments.

Eye icon indicating a direction to review the resource, but no need to read it in detail.Review these examples of rubrics.  Likely they are more specific than the typical information that you’re provided with about an assignment or assessment.  Take some notes in your journal on this.  How would rubrics improve your learning process?  How would they improve the quality of a course or even an entire online program?

Sue Lieberman created this great SlideShare presentation (below,) which provides an overview of why and how you can use rubrics.  Take notes as you go – you’ll be using those resources in your presentation for Instructional Design and Development.

You can also download a PDF version of the presentation HERE.

Video IconView this Slideshare presentation by Sue Lieberman embedded below.


This overview of quality tools and process, as well as the importance of using rubrics and some information about how to design them well, should help you gain an understanding of why and how quality tools are important in online courses and programs.

Tree icon denoting reflection journalRemember to keep taking notes in your journal – it will become your resource for when you create your learning objects and presentations, and I’ll be checking in regularly to help you along the way.

Open icon indicating opening a moduleNext, Project:  Instructional Design and Development Part I.