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Introducing Rubrics to Students

A rubric is an assessment guide that reflects content standards and performance standards. Rubrics describe the features expected for student work to receive each of the levels/scores on the chosen scale. An assessment rubric tells us what is important, defines what work meets a standard, and allows us to distinguish between different levels of performance.

Students need to understand the assessment guide that is being used to assess their performance. Teachers often begin this process by developing rubrics with students that do not address a specific content area. Together, they develop rubrics around classroom management, playground behavior, homework, lunchroom behavior, following criteria with a substitute teacher, etc. Developing rubrics with students around the best chocolate chip cookie, sneaker, crayon, etc. is also an informative activity to help students understand performance levels. After building a number of rubrics with students, a teacher can introduce the Exemplars rubric. Since the students will have an understanding of what an assessment guide is, they will be ready to focus on the criteria and performance levels of the rubric.


Below are rubrics that have been developed by teachers in Vermont. They are meant to stir your imagination as you decide what assessment guide would be best to begin with your students.

It is very important to have your students develop their own first rubric. Sharing, adjusting or using the rubrics below can be done after your students have experienced the process for themselves.