Compendium of Design

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Writing Assessment Rubrics

‘An assessment rubric is a rule for scoring or coding the quality of an observed performance. It is the combination of an indicative behaviour and its associated set of quality criteria.’

Teachers using judgement-based assessment items need to operate within a criterion referenced framework. In order to do this, they use rubrics – or rules to guide their judgements. One of the first things teachers need to do when considering rubrics in such a way, is that they are useful and of high quality, with minimal risk of misleading students, teachers, or PLC members. Rubrics written and interpreted in a criterion-referenced framework are generally underpinned by both a model of measurement and a learning theory or taxonomy.

In a developmental assessment framework, the capabilities are the skills, knowledge, attitudes and/or expectations that might be established within a domain or strand of learning development. They are the ‘essential questions’, sometimes stated in abstract terms, which represent the overall development of a person in an area of learning.

The assessment framework should be framed around four levels of increasing competence for each

Rules for Writing Quality Rubrics

Use the following rules to generate and evaluate (panel) your rubric criterion. Rules 1 to 3 (blue emphasis) are the core rules. Rubrics that do not follow these rules require learners to guess what the assessor is looking for. This is like asking learners to jump but providing no answer to the question “How high?”. 

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