Marking Rubrics Made Easy

Wouldn’t you like to know how to make an effective marking rubric? You may be thinking that this is not the most exciting topic but I find what makes my life easier as a teacher is pretty exciting indeed. So here I share how to make a simple, concise and effective rubric with some resources of examples of rubrics from presentations, various written assignments, online discussion forums, technology-driven projects, etc.

The following links give you an overview of why rubrics are helpful and some beginning steps to creating one.

The most helpful resource was this informative and concise slideshare. In this slideshare presentation it suggests that the teacher ask the students what they think would make an excellent scholarly paper or oral presentation, etc. (Gow, 2009). I like the idea of collaborating with the students. Follows andragogy principles. This will create a starting point for criteria for marking and it is coming from the students, it is student-driven and moves students toward self regulation. By having students reflect on this assignment helps students understand what and why certain elements are most important. It also helps them envision what a great assignment would look like and primes the student’s mind to create this brilliant end product.

Gow (2009) outlines these Simple Steps:

  • Performance categories: look at list of categories students came up with and create some of your own. Ensure student ideas are incorporated.
  • Descriptors of what would make each of these categories idea, exceptional, surprising?
  • Come up with levels of these descriptors either with words, i.e. excellent-good-satisfactory-needs specific improvement-unsatisfactory or “expert-proficient-novice-inept” (personally this seems quite insulting and I don’t like these words at all. You can also use numbers 5-4-3-2-1
  • Determine the baseline and work from there (i.e. baseline is 3’s in the 4 categories)
  • Don’t use straight percentages like a 15/20 is 75% instead convert to grade and base grades on points (i.e. 16 is A+, 15=A-, 13=B+, etc.)
  • Underline in the descriptions what was notable (a.k.a. well done)

The full slideshare of the above bulletted  information can be found below:

Being a post-secondary educator I really enjoyed and appreciate the following sample of marking rubrics that was created by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC & U).

Some of the following links of rubric samples below are not for adult education but categories and wording in these can be a helpful jumping off point when creating a rubric:

I plan to create more marking rubrics so students are crystal clear about expectations for assignments. Currently a marking rubric is not used in our program for critical reflections and I feel my students could really benefit from one. I intend to implement a simple and concise one in my nursing practice courses so students feel they have a target that they are trying to aim for. As a student in the PIDP 3250 course I really appreciated the simple yet comprehensive marking rubrics for each assignment in this course. It allows me to be a self-directed learner and determine which mark I want to aim for and a path to get there.


Gow, P. (2009). Evaluation Rubrics: Gonna make your life soooo easy. Retrieved at

*The other above helpful resources can be found by clicking on the direct link

About turnera2014

I am a Nursing (RN) Instructor taking the Professional Instructor Diploma Program at Vancouver Community College in hopes to challenge my current teaching modalities and inspire me to be the best teacher I can be.
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