Deciding on the model of setting marking criteria can depend upon the intended learning outcomes of the course and the type of assessment task. There are two main ways to provide marking criteria - marking guides and rubrics – of which there is a range of formats. The choice of using a marking guide or a rubric to present your marking criteria will depend on the type of assessment task designed, the intended learning outcomes being demonstrated and the learning technologies used. In its simplest form, a marking guide provides broad outlines for success and allocates a range of marks for each component, and a simple rubric provides specific outlines and examples of what is expected for success and allocate specific marks. There is no preference for either method (or sometimes you may use a combination of both) – they can both be done well, and poorly.
Regardless of which method you use, the purpose of marking criteria is to provide students with instructions on what it is that you are asking them to demonstrate. So teaching staff who are marking the assessment need to have a clear understanding of what the students have been asked to demonstrate in order to make a judgement of success. The language used within the criteria needs to be clear, concise and within the levels of learning expected.
A marking guide is a means of communicating broad expectations for an assignment, providing feedback on works in progress, and grading final products. This marking scheme articulates the expectations for an assignment by listing the criteria or elements and describing the various levels of quality from excellent to poor. Students receive a list of expectations required for each component of the task, within a range. A marking guide differs from a rubric in that each criteria is given a range, not a specific point value. For example: Excellent 8-10, Good 5-7, Poor 2-4, Unsatisfactory 0-1.
It is worth noting that depending upon the learning technology used for assessment submission and/or marking, the structure of the marking guide may differ. It is important that the technology tool chosen matches the purpose of the assessment task. Please visit the technologies to enhance assessment webpage to explore what Federation University supports.
A rubric is a means of communicating specific expectations for an assignment, providing focused feedback on works in progress, and grading final products. This marking scheme articulates the expectations for an assignment by listing the specific criteria or elements and describing the various levels of quality from excellent to poor. Students receive a comprehensive list of expectations required for each component of the task. A rubric differs from a marking guide in that each criteria is usually given a specific point value, not a range. For example: Excellent 5, Substantial 4, Moderate 3, Minimal 2, Poor 1, Unsatisfactory 0.
Rubrics are often used to grade student work but more importantly, they also have the role of teaching as well as evaluating. When used as part of a formative, student-centred approach to assessment, rubrics have the potential to help students develop understanding and skill, as well as make dependable judgments about the quality of their own work. Students should be able to use rubrics the same way that teachers use them—to clarify the standards for a quality performance, and to guide ongoing feedback about progress toward those standards.
Whilst the advantages of using rubrics are evident, they can be quite time-consuming to develop initially. Before you get started, view the Rubistar website developed by the University of Kansas to assist you in creating quality rubrics. They provide templates for many common assessment tasks, giving you a foundation to build your specific rubric for your specific assessment task marking criteria.
It is worth noting that depending upon the learning technology used for assessment submission and/or marking, the structure of the rubric may differ. It is important that the technology tool chosen matches the purpose of the assessment task. Please visit technologies to enhance assessment web page to explore what Federation University supports.
Federation University Learning and Teaching website
Professional Learning Modules – Online | self-paced. Access the following strategies.
- Introduction to assessment principles (30 min)
- Importance of effective marking criteria (15 min)
- Introduction to simple rubrics (15 min)
- Introduction to simple marking guides (15 min)
- Contact your Learning Designer via the CAD job portal to assist in matching the right type of marking criteria with your assessment task, and exploring the technology tools that may enhance the assessment.
- Contact your Learning Skills Advisor to assist you with improving the clarity and expression of marking criteria.