EM SC 240N
Energy and Sustainability in Contemporary Culture

Using Rubrics


I use rubrics for all journal and discussion board assignments, as well as all papers and projects. It is important that you understand how they "work" because they will tell you how I calculated a grade that you received, but perhaps, more importantly, they tell you how I will grade each assignment. You can use these to figure out what I am looking for in a high-quality submission. For example, the rubric you see below is a sample of how a blog post could be graded.

Journal Entries Rubric: 100 Points Possible
Criteria Achievement Level 1 Achievement Level 2 Achievement Level 3 Achievement Level 4
Submitting the following (10% total, 2% each):
-On Canvas submission: name, lesson number, link to post
On post: Lesson number, descriptive title
10 points
Included all elements
8.5 points 7 points 0 points
No elements included (2% off for each missing element)
Quality of analysis (70%) 70 points
The argument/analysis presented is substantive and creative, demonstrating deep and complex understanding of the material. The analysis is clear, and arguments made are convincing and demonstrate logical and clear reasoning. All elements of the assignment are thoroughly addressed.
59.5 points
Understanding of the assignment and material is demonstrated. Almost all elements of the assignment are addressed. Explanation is clear and convincing.
49 points
Argument is somewhat superficial and not clearly addressing the assignment or course material. Explanations are reasonable, but lack some clarity and are only moderately well-thought out.
0 points
Does not address the assignment or use course material, or an extreme lack of understanding of course material is demonstrated. Explanations are disjointed and unconvincing.
Mechanics and professionalism (20%) 20 points
Grammar and spelling are perfect, the language is appropriate, and the writing style is clear and readable. Terminology from the lesson and/or course is used and used correctly. Post is concise and has a logical flow that addresses a central point/argument (or multiple arguments, if appropriate).
17 points
Very few minor grammar/spelling mistakes, the language is appropriate, and the writing style is readable. Terminology from the lesson and/or course is used and used correctly. Post has a logical flow that addresses a central point/argument (or multiple arguments, if appropriate).
14 points
Minor grammar/spelling errors are present and the language is appropriate. Writing style is acceptable, but the argument is somewhat unclear. Use of course terminology is middling.
0 points
Unclear, disorganized, unedited, very difficult to read.

Calculating a score on a rubric is straightforward. It is similar to how your final grade is calculated. Just like your final grade is calculated using a percent breakdown, your individual assignment grades are calculated using a breakdown of each component of the assignment, as indicated in the rubric.

For example, in the rubric above, the breakdown is:

  • 10% for following submission directions (name, title, etc.)
  • 70% for Quality of analysis
  • 20% for Mechanics and professionalism

When I grade a journal entry using this rubric, the score will automatically be calculated based on the individual scores of each criterion. Note that I am able to enter any appropriate score into each criterion, and am not limited by the categories. For example, for the last criterion, I can enter any number from 0 through 20. Calculating the grade is easy. You add up the scores from each criterion to get the final grade. So if you got the following individual scores:

  • 6/10 for the first criterion
  • 70/70 for the second
  • 15/20 for the third

The final score for the assignment would be 6 + 70 +15 = 91/100. This grade would automatically show up in the grade book once the score is entered. Note that I can (and generally will) provide feedback regarding why each criterion earned its score.

This is a relatively simple example, but all rubrics work the same way. Each criterion is weighted, the scoring scale is described in the chart, and the score is tallied by adding grades for individual criterion. I STRONGLY suggest you look at grading rubrics prior to completing an assignment. They tell you what an "excellent" submission will entail. I also suggest looking at them after I grade them to see why you received a grade that you did.