Teaching and Learning Tip #19: Got Rubrics?

January 23, 2018


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Tip #19: Got Rubrics?

Have you ever wished for a simple and systematic grading system that provides clear expectations for students, yet saves you time when grading? Here’s a solution for you, the rubric tool in Canvas! Creating rubrics in Canvas is easy, and utilizing rubrics in SpeedGrader makes grading efficient.

Rubrics positively influence student learning, improve student performance, support self-directed learning, and contribute to effective assessment (Wolf & Stevens, 2007).

Advantages of Using Rubrics

  • Rubrics set clear expectations for students
  • Rubrics help students monitor their progress
  • Rubrics allow students to recognize their strengths and weaknesses
  • Rubrics allow instructors to recognize the strengths and weaknesses of a class
  • Rubrics help instructors identify areas that need more instructional time
  • Rubric save instructors time when grading

Creating a Rubric in Canvas

To create a rubric, start by going to an assignment you’ve created, scroll down and click “+ Rubric”. Or, in a discussion, click on the gear icon and select “add rubric”. Fill in the criteria and descriptions for the assignment and click save to finish. You can use the same rubric for similar assignments or modify a template rubric to fit a variety of assignments. SpeedGrader allows you to use rubrics to assign grades, view and sort submissions, and easily move from one student submission to the next. Within SpeedGrader you can provide annotated and written comments, create video feedback, and use the speech-to-text recognition tool.

Tips for Canvas Rubrics

  • Write out your criteria and descriptions in a text document; cut-and-paste text into the rubric.
  • If using multiple rubrics, create a template rubric and rename for each assignment.
  • Use descriptive titles for criteria; include details in the ratings descriptions.
  • Clearly delineate between ratings.
  • Check “use this rubric for assignment grading” when finished; you can still write free-form comments.



Allen, D. & Tanner, K. (2006).Rubrics: Tools for making learning goals. CBE Life Sci Educ, 5(3), 197–203.

Panadero, E., & Jonsson, A. (2013). The use of scoring rubrics for formative assessment purposes revisited: A review. Educational Research Review, 9(1), 129-144.

Wolf K, Stevens E. (2007). The role of rubrics in advancing and assessing student learning. The Journal of Effective Teaching, 7(1), 3-14.

HSU Quality Learning and Teaching (QLT) Best Practice Guide. Assessment and Evaluation of Student Learning (2.4).

Contributed by Christine Dobrowolski, Kinesiology