A rubric is a scoring tool that explicitly represents the performance expectations for an assignment or piece of work.A rubric divides the assigned work into component parts and provides clear descriptions of the characteristics of the work associated with each component, at varying levels of mastery.
Rubrics usually contain evaluative criteria, quality definitions for those criteria at particular levels of achievement, and a scoring strategy.
A scoring rubric is an attempt to communicate expectations of quality around a task.
Rubrics can be used for a wide array of assignments: papers, projects, oral presentations, artistic performances, group projects, etc.
Rubrics can be used as scoring or grading guides, to provide formative feedback to support and guide ongoing learning efforts, or both.
Grading consistency is difficult to maintain over time because of fatigue, shifting standards based on prior experience, or intrusion of other criteria.
Furthermore, rubrics can reduce the time spent grading by reducing uncertainty and by allowing instructors to refer to the rubric description associated with a score rather than having to write long comments.
Studies of scoring rubric effectiveness now consider the efficiency of a grid over, say, a text-based list of criteria. Holistic rubrics integrate all aspects of the work into a single overall rating of the work.
For example, "the terms and grades commonly used at university (i.e., excellent – A, good – B, average – C, poor – D, and weak – E) usually express an assessor’s overall rating of a piece of work.
This integration of performance and feedback is called ongoing assessment or formative assessment.
Several common features of scoring rubrics can be distinguished, according to Bernie Dodge and Nancy Pickett: Scoring rubrics include one or more dimensions on which performance is rated, definitions and examples that illustrate the attribute(s) being measured, and a rating scale for each dimension.