While rubrics can be a fair amount of work to set up at the outset of your course, but they can save you time and stress when it comes time to grading all those big tests and projects at the end of the term. Even better, if you’re already using Blackboard Grade Center, you can add rubrics to your assignments right there! Everything you need to grade student work all in one place—it’s a great tool for making your life a little easier. Let us show you how it works.  

What Is a Rubric?

A rubric is a scoring tool that you can use to evaluate the different parts of your students’ work. For each section, you create descriptions of what your expectations are and what the resulting points would be for student performance at varying levels.

Never used a grading rubric before? While they’re not required, they can help in a couple of key ways. For you, rubrics can help ensure consistent and impartial grading. For students, they can help focus efforts on meeting the key parts of your expectations and provide transparency regarding your grading methods.

How to Set Up Rubrics

To set up a rubric, you’ll need to head to Blackboard’s Grade Center.

Rubrics consist of rows and columns. The rows correspond to the criteria you’re using to grade. The columns correspond to the level of achievement that describes each criterion (i.e. how many points you’re giving).

To start, you’ll go into Course Tools, then select Rubrics. On the Rubrics page, you’ll select Create Rubric. Name and describe your rubric. New rubrics start with three rows and three columns, but you can expand from there if needed using the Add Row and Add Column buttons. You will want to decide before you input any information into your rubric what kind of grading system you want to use. The options include: no points, points, point range, percent and percent range.

From here, you’ll need to start filling in your rubric. Add the description for each element you want to evaluate students on and add a point value or percent for each level of achievement. There are a couple of things to keep in mind:

  • Descriptions have a 1,000 character limit.
  • You can reorder your rows and columns if needed.
  • Once you use a rubric to grade, you CANNOT edit it. You will need to create a copy, which you can then edit.

When you are done, select Submit in the bottom right corner.

Watch the video above for a step-by-step walk through of this process, or visit the Blackboard Help Page for Rubrics.

After you create your rubric, you’ll need to associate it with a content item like an assignment, blog, wiki, journal entry, discussion forum, or essay and short answer test questions. The video above explains that process, but if you’d prefer to read it, we’ll also lay it out here.

The first step is to access a content area and select Edit. Scroll down to the Grading section and open the Add Rubric menu. Here, you can choose your rubric settings and select which rubric to associate this item with (or create a new one). You can associate more than one rubric with an item, but you must designate them as being for Grading or Secondary Evaluation.

You’ll also need to decide whether or not to share the rubric with students. You can give students full access, restrict them to only the descriptions, or not allow them to see the rubric until the assignment has been graded.

Once you’ve added a rubric, you’ll simply hit Submit in the lower right hand corner.

How to Grade with Rubrics

You’ve got your rubric in there, awesome! But… now what? How do you actually grade using the rubric?

To start grading, you’ll navigate to your Grade Center or the Needs Grading page. Once you’re on the Grade Assignment page, you can use a rubric to grade a student submitted file. To start, expand the grading panel and select the rubric. You can open the rubric in a separate window using the View Rubric in Window icon or grade inline right there.

For each criteria, you’ll select an achievement level, with a running total appearing at the end as you select values. If you feel this total doesn’t match the overall student performance, you can override the score by typing a number in the Change the Number of Points box. You can also add additional feedback at this point.

You can save the score using the Save Rubric button, and when you are ready to share with the student, select Submit.

You’ll repeat this process for each item that needs grading.

Please let us know if you need help or have questions about setting up rubrics in Blackboard! Additionally, we offer several workshops throughout the year on this topic. Check out our upcoming events to see if there’s one coming up soon.