Teaching Commons > Teaching Guides > Feedback & Grading > Rubrics > Types of Rubrics
An analytic rubric resembles a grid with the criteria for a student product listed in the leftmost column and with levels of performance listed across the top row often using numbers and/or descriptive tags. The cells within the center of the rubric may be left blank or may contain descriptions of what the specified criteria look like for each level of performance. When scoring with an analytic rubric each of the criteria is scored individually.
Developmental rubrics are a subset of analytic trait rubrics.
The main distinction between developmental rubrics and other analytic trait rubrics is that the purpose of developmental rubrics is not to evaluate an end product or performance. Instead, developmental rubrics are designed to answer the question, “to what extent are students who engage in our programs/services developing this skill/ability/value/etc.?”
Generally, this type of rubric would be based on a theory of development.
King, P.M. & Baxter Magolda, M.B. (2005). A developmental model of intercultural maturity,
Journal of College Student Development, 46(2), 571-592.
A holistic rubric consists of a single scale with all criteria to be included in the evaluation being considered together (e.g., clarity, organization, and mechanics). With a holistic rubric the rater assigns a single score (usually on a 1 to 4 or 1 to 6 point scale) based on an overall judgment of the student work. The rater matches an entire piece of student work to a single description on the scale.
Checklists are a distinct type of rubric – where there are only two performance levels possible. Checklists tend to be longer than other types of rubrics since each aspect of performance you are looking for in students’ work/performances essentially becomes its own criterion. When you are using a checklist, every decision is binary (yes/no, present/absent, pass/fail, etc.). Most rubrics can be converted rather directly into a checklist. For example, here is a rubric for grading journal entries:
Here is the same rubric converted into a checklist:
Checklists are generally a simpler and faster way to grade than using a more traditional rubric since you are making discrete decisions for each individual performance criterion rather than trying to determine where students’ work fall into performance criteria that generally encompass a range of difference performance expectations. This also makes the grading clearer to students. Using checklists may result in less arbitrary (and more consistent) grading decisions. For example, most instructors are clear on what the top performances look like and what the bottom performances look like, but the middle gets fuzzier. When students understand that their grades will be based on all or nothing decisions, checklists also have the potential to raise the rigor of and students’ performances on our assignments.
Creating checklists for your assignments might be a slightly onerous process. This is both because checklists are longer than a traditional rubric and because identifying each of the discrete elements of “clearly written” or “well organized” might be difficult. You may find that cannot easily convert every performance element you are looking for into a checklist format. Performance criteria that are difficult to operationalize will also be difficult to convert into a checklist. It may also be difficult to decide on the exact level of granularity that might be appropriate for each assignment. For example, “uses good grammar” might be appropriate for most classes, but would be far too broad if you are teaching a course on grammar. Checklists also lose the middle so there is not a way to award credit to students who get most of the way toward achieving a criterion.