The importance of a rubric

To steal from Ferris Bueller: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, you cannot overemphasize the importance of a rubric.

This week I had a meeting with a student to discuss their assignment grade. I know what you’re thinking but no, it was not because the student felt the mark was too high, the student was “upset with the mark”, to quote their email requesting the meeting.

I had asked the student to review my comments in the assignment in advance, and to review the rubric and comments there. When the meeting came, I was not surprised that the student hadn’t done that in advance. I had a feeling that wouldn’t occur, so we went through some of the comments first to highlight where I had found areas for improvement, then we looked together at the rubric and where the student scored. The rubric had been available since the start of the course, so the student knew what was being assessed, and now we compared the submission back to it.

I could see the student nod their head as I explained how their response fit into the score I had used: analysis was incomplete, no supporting sources provided; more than 5 grammar and spelling errors; excessively long quotes (the student had quoted an entire page of bullet points into their submission).

As the meeting drew toward closing, the student shared with me that before the meeting they knew the paper was not perfect, but felt it was an 80% mark, after reviewing the rubric the student confessed they could clearly see that it was a 60% paper and my marking was fair.

A well prepared rubric is important for any assignment: it speeds up marking by instructors; it allows students to see in advance what is required; it provides feedback for improvement; and it supports marks when asked, avoiding grade appeals.

Want to know more about rubrics? Look back at some of our past blogs:

Zoom Training?

If you are looking for some tips on using Zoom in teaching, we received an email about this opportunity:

Contact North|Contact Nord webinar titled How to Use Zoom in the New (Blended) Normal: Models for Student Inclusion and Engagement. I’ll be offering it for the first time on Thursday, June 10 from 11:00 a.m.- 12:00 p.m. (Eastern Time). In the webinar, I’ll be discussing 7 teaching models for the phased-in return to campus this September, and how Zoom can play an integral role in all models – even in face-to-face classes. Special emphasis will be given to how you can ensure all your students are fully included and engaged whether they’re on-campus or remote. For more details about the webinar and to register, please visit I hope you’ll be able to join me, but if you’re unable to a recording link will be published shortly after the webinar at

Don’t know the group at all so count vouch for the training, but it is free 😉