KU's Learning Management System


A rubric is an assessment tool that lists evaluation criteria (rows) and achievement levels (columns). These correspond to point values on a per-assignment and per-student basis. Once created, the rubric tool provides an easy-to-use interface, allowing faculty to point and click on cells. The calculations are done by the rubric and the resulting grade (and specific rubric) are stored in the Grade Center for the student to review.

Faculty members have used simple rubrics to quickly evaluate student participation in discussion boards and more detailed rubrics for papers, projects, and exams. A rubric provides a means to convey to students the expectations of quality for assignments and can help students organize their efforts to meet the requirements. It provides a sort of “work agreement” that can be used later to explain the reasoning behind a grade.

For more information about Rubrics, select from the following:

Create a Rubric

By default, new rubrics have three rows and three columns. Rows and columns can be deleted, added, renamed or reordered.

  1. On the Control Panel, click Course Tools.
  2. Select Rubrics.
  3. On the Rubrics page, click Create Rubric.
  4. Type a Name for the rubric. The name is the title text that identifies the rubric.
  5. Provide a description of the rubric (optional).
  6. Edit the rubric grid. To learn more, see Edit the Rubric Grid below.
  7. Click Submit.

Edit the Rubric Grid

Edit the rubric grid so it corresponds to the type of feedback and scoring appropriate for the assignment. Once a rubric is used for grading, you cannot edit it. You can copy the rubric to create a duplicate rubric that you can edit.

  1. Click Add Row to add a new criterion at the bottom of the grid.
  2. Click Add Column to add a new level of achievement at the right side of the grid.
  3. Choose a Rubric Type from the drop-down list:
    • No Points - Feedback only.
    • Points - Single point value for each Level of Achievement.
    • Point Range - Range of values for each Level of Achievement. Note: the range in each cell must be low to high (25 to 30 rather than 30 to 25).
    • Percent - Flexible depending on each assignment's possible points.
    • Percent Range - Range of values for each Level of Achievement. During the grading process, you select the appropriate percentage level for a particular Level of Achievement and the system calculates the points earned by multiplying the weight x achievement percentage x item points. Note: the range in each cell must be low to high (9 to 10 rather than 10 to 9).
  4. To change the name of a row or column put your cursor on the name, click the options menu (gray circle) and select Edit.
  5. Type a point or percentage value for each cell.
  6. Type a description in the cell defining the criteria and the associated Level of Achievement.
  7. Click Submit.


  • Each cell has a 1000-character limit. You can reorder rows and columns by clicking the reordering functions located above the labels.
  • You can reorder rows and columns by clicking the reordering functions located above the labels.
  • For Point Range and Percent Range you must enter each cell's range with the lower number first (25 to 30 rather than 30 to 25). If you enter the range with the higher number first you will see an error message "range is out of bounds" and will not be able to save the rubric.

Copy and Edit a Rubric

Copying a rubric is helpful if you have similar assignments for your students that will follow the same criteria. This allows you to keep the settings and simply rename the rubric. You can also copy a rubric when you want to edit a rubric that was already used for grading.

You can duplicate a rubric by selecting the copy option from the rubric's contextual menu (Course Tools, Rubrics, contextual menu, Copy). A copy is created automatically with the name of the rubric in parentheses followed by the number one. For example, "Introductory Speech" can be copied to create "(Introductory Speech)(1)."

You can edit the rubric's name to add a new name by selecting Edit from the rubric's contextual menu. The Edit Rubric page allows you to edit all the settings for a rubric.

Options when using percent-based rubrics:

  • To show or hide criteria weights, select the Show Criteria Weight checkbox on the action bar. If additional rows are added when weights are hidden, weights for new criteria are distributed equally.
  • Use the Balance Weights function after adding a new row to keep all criteria weighted equally. If individual criteria weighting is preferred, type percentages for each criteria. The Show Criteria Weight checkbox must be selected for the Balance Weights function to appear.
  • The total weight for all criteria must equal 100%. No row may have a 0% weight. At least one Level of Achievement must have a value of 100%.

Associate a Rubric

Associated rubrics are visible under the grading and rubrics settings for:

  • Assignments
  • Essay, short answer, and file response test questions
  • Blogs and journals
  • Wikis
  • Discussion Board threads and forums
  1. You can also associate a rubric with a column in the Grade Center by selecting Edit Column Information from the column's contextual menu.
  2. To associate a rubric during the editing or creation process, position your cursor over Add Rubric to access the drop-down list and choose one of the options:
    • Select Rubric associates a rubric that was created in the Rubrics area of Course Tools.
    • Create New Rubric opens a pop-up window to allow immediate creation of a new associated rubric.
    • Create From Existing uses a previously created rubric as a template to create a new associated rubric.
  3. When associating a points-based rubric, the option to use the rubric's points value as the points possible is suggested after clicking Submit on the rubric creation or selection page.

Manage Associated Rubrics

While editing an item with an associated rubric, you can change the rubric's options. Below an associated rubric's name, manage rubrics using the icons to Remove Rubric Association, View Rubric, or Edit Rubric.

  • Remove Rubric Association severs the connection to a rubric, but does not delete the rubric itself. If the rubric was already used for grading in this assignment, removing the association also removes those evaluations and the attempts need to be graded again.
  • View Rubric opens a preview that you cannot edit, with a link to view associated items and print the rubric.
  • Edit Rubric opens the associated rubric to allow for immediate editing. If the rubric was already used for grading, you cannot edit it.

For the type, you can designate a rubric as Used for Grading or Used for Secondary Evaluation. If multiple rubrics are associated, you can use only one as the primary grading rubric, designated as Used for Grading.

Show Rubric to Students offers four options for rubric visibility:

  • No does not allow students to view the rubric at any time.
  • Yes (With Rubric Scores) allows students to view the rubric when the item is made available, including possible point or percentage values.
  • Yes (Without Rubric Scores) allows students to view the rubric when the item is made available, but does not include the possible point or percentage values.
  • After Grading allows students to view the rubric only after grading their submissions is completed.

Export and Import Rubrics

You can export and import rubrics to share rubrics between Blackboard Learn courses. You should not edit the rubric outside of Blackboard Learn.

  1. On the Control Panel, click Course Tools.
  2. Select Rubrics.
  3. To export a rubric:
    1. Select the checkbox next to the rubric's name.
    2. Select Export.
    3. Select Export to Local Computer.
    4. Click Submit.
    5. Click Download.
    6. Save the resulting zipped file to your computer, do not open it.
  4. To import a rubric:
    1. Click Import Rubric and browse for the file.
    2. Click Submit to upload the file.
    3. You will see a 'Rubric Import Result' page. Click OK in the lower right corner.

Grade With Rubrics

Before grading with a rubric, you need to associate it with one of the following gradable items:

  • Assignments
  • Essay, short answer, and file response test questions
  • Blogs and journals
  • Wikis
  • Discussion Board threads and forums

To learn more, see "Associate a Rubric" above.

NOTE: For Blogs, Discussion Boards, and Journals, please enable grading before any submission is received to prevent loss of rubric grading data. If grading is enabled after students already submitted their work, any rubric data on the first grading attempt will not be saved.

Follow these steps to grade using rubrics:

  1. Access the gradable item in the Grade Center, the Needs Grading page or from the tool.
  2. Click View Rubric to review or begin grading with the associated rubric.
  3. In Grid View, click a cell to apply that point value to the grade. If a rubric with point ranges is used, select the appropriate value from the drop-down list. To change the selection, click another cell in the same row.
  4. Type feedback to the student in the text box that appears (optional).
  5. Click List View to switch displays and select an option for each criterion to apply that point value to the grade (optional).
  6. Select the checkboxes to Show Descriptions for criteria and to Show Feedback text boxes (optional).A running Raw Total score appears as point selections are made. Optionally, type a score in the Change the number of points box to override the selected score, and type overall Feedback to the student using the full features of the included Content Editor. Note: The Raw Total displays the score rounded to two decimal places.
  7. When grading is complete, click Save or Exit. Save records the score and feedback and return to the attempt. Exit allows you to leave the rubric without saving any selections.
  8. Click Save and Next to use another associated rubric for evaluation.

Source: Blackboard Help »

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