Scoring Rubrics Part II: How? ERIC Digest.
by Moskal, Barbara M.
An earlier Digest, "Scoring Rubrics Part I: What and When?", described
the different types of scoring rubrics and explained why scoring rubrics
are useful. This purpose of the Digest is to provide a process for developing
scoring rubrics. This Digest concludes with a discussion of additional
resources that provide examples of scoring rubrics and further guidance
in the rubric development process.
HOW ARE SCORING RUBRICS DEVELOPED?
The first step in developing a scoring rubric is to clearly identify
the qualities that need to be displayed in a student's work to demonstrate
proficient performance (Brookhart, 1999). The identified qualities will
form the top level or levels of scoring criteria for the scoring rubric.
The decision can then be made as to whether the information that is desired
from the evaluation can best be acquired through the use of an analytic
or holistic scoring rubric. If an analytic scoring rubric is created, then
each criterion is considered separately as the descriptions of the different
score levels are developed. This process results in separate descriptive
scoring schemes for each evaluation factor. For holistic scoring rubrics,
the collection of criteria is considered throughout the construction of
each level of the scoring rubric, and the result is a single descriptive
After defining the criteria for the top level of performance, the evaluator
may choose to define the criteria for lowest level of performance. What
type of performance would suggest a very limited understanding of the concepts
that are being assessed? The contrast between the criteria for top-level
performance and bottom-level performance is likely to suggest appropriate
criteria for middle-level of performance. This approach would result in
three score levels.
If greater distinctions are desired, then comparisons can be made between
the criteria for each existing score level. The contrast between levels
is likely to suggest criteria that may be used to create score levels that
fall between the existing score levels. This comparison process can be
used until the desired number of score levels is reached or until no further
distinctions can be made. If meaningful distinctions between the score
categories cannot be made, then additional score categories should not
be created (Brookhart, 1999). It is better to have a few meaningful score
categories than to have many score categories that are difficult or impossible
Each score category should be defined using descriptions of the work
rather then judgments about the work (Brookhart, 1999). For example, "Student's
mathematical calculations contain no errors," is preferable over, "Student's
calculations are good." The phrase "are good" requires the evaluator to
make a judgment, whereas the phrase "no errors" is quantifiable. In order
to determine whether a rubric provides adequate descriptions, another teacher
may be asked to use the scoring rubric to evaluate a subset of student
responses. Differences between the scores assigned by the original rubric
developer and the second scorer will suggest how the rubric may be further
Currently, there is a broad range of resources available to teachers
who wish to use scoring rubrics in their classrooms. These resources differ
both in the subject that they cover and the level that they are designed
to assess. The examples provided below are only a small sample of the information
that is available.
For K-12 teachers, the state of Colorado (1998) has developed an online
set of general, holistic scoring rubrics that are designed for the evaluation
of various writing assessments. The Chicago Public Schools (1999) maintain
an extensive electronic list of analytic and holistic scoring rubrics that
span the broad array of subjects represented throughout K-12 education.
For mathematics teachers, Danielson has developed a collection of reference
books that contain scoring rubrics that are appropriate to the elementary,
middle school and high school mathematics classrooms (1997a, 1997b; Danielson
& Marquez, 1998).
Resources are also available to assist college instructors who are interested
in developing and using scoring rubrics in their classrooms. Kathy Schrock's
Guide for Educators (2000) contains electronic materials for both the pre-college
and the college classroom. In The Art and Science of Classroom Assessment:
The Missing Part of Pedagogy, Brookhart (1999) provides a brief, but comprehensive
review of the literature on assessment in the college classroom, including
a description of scoring rubrics and why their use is increasing in the
college classroom. Moskal (1999) has developed a web site that contains
links to a variety of college assessment resources, including scoring rubrics.
The resources described above represent only a fraction of those that
are available. The ERIC Clearinghouse on Assessment and Evaluation [ERIC/AE]
provides several additional useful web sites. One of these, Scoring Rubrics
Definitions & Constructions (2000b), specifically addresses questions
that are frequently asked with regard to scoring rubrics. This site also
provides electronic links to web resources and bibliographic references
to books and articles that discuss scoring rubrics. For more recent developments
within assessment and evaluation, a search can be completed on the abstracts
of papers that will soon be available through ERIC/AE (2000a). This site
also contains a direct link to ERIC/AE abstracts that are specific to scoring
Search engines that are available on the web may be used to locate additional
electronic resources. When using this approach, the search criteria should
be as specific as possible. Generic searches that use the terms "rubrics"
or "scoring rubrics" will yield a large volume of references. When seeking
information on scoring rubrics from the web, it is advisable to use an
advanced search and specify the grade level, subject area and topic of
interest. If more resources are desired than result from this conservative
approach, the search criteria can be expanded.
Brookhart, S. M. (1999). The Art and Science of Classroom Assessment:
The Missing Part of Pedagogy. ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Report (Vol. 27,
No.1). Washington, DC: The George Washington University, Graduate School
of Education and Human Development.
Chicago Public Schools (1999). Rubric Bank. [Available online at:http://intranet.cps.k12.il.us/Assessments/Ideas
Danielson, C. (1997a). A Collection of Performance Tasks and Rubrics:
Middle School Mathematics. Larchmont, NY: Eye on Education Inc.
Danielson, C. (1997b). A Collection of Performance Tasks and Rubrics:
Upper Elementary School Mathematics. Larchmont, NY: Eye on Education Inc.
Danielson, C. & Marquez, E. (1998). A Collection of Performance
Tasks and Rubrics: High School Mathematics. Larchmont, NY: Eye on Education
ERIC/AE (2000a). Search ERIC/AE draft abstracts. [Available online at:
ERIC/AE (2000b). Scoring Rubrics - Definitions & Construction [Available
online at: http://ericae.net/faqs/rubrics/scoring_rubrics.htm].
Knecht, R., Moskal, B. & Pavelich, M. (2000). The Design Report
Rubric: Measuring and Tracking Growth through Success, Paper to be presented
at the annual meeting of the American Society for Engineering Education.
Leydens, J. & Thompson, D. (August, 1997), Writing Rubrics Design
(EPICS) I, Internal Communication, Design (EPICS) Program, Colorado School
Moskal, B. (2000). Assessment Resource Page. [Available online at: http://www.mines.edu
Schrock, K. (2000). Kathy Schrock's Guide for Educators. [Available
online at: http://school.discovery.com/schrockguide/assess.html].
State of Colorado (1998). The Rubric. [Available online at: http://www.cde.state.co.us/cdedepcom/
This Digest originally appeared as part of Moskal, Barbara M.(2000).
Scoring Rubrics: What, When and How? Practical Assessment, Research &
Evaluation, 7(3). [Available online:http://ericae.net/pare/getvn.asp?v=7&n=3].