Rubric Building

Rubric Definitions

In OWL, you can build your own rubric for scoring subjective assessments. Rubrics allow for standardized evaluation according to specified criteria and can be linked to learning objectives. In OWL, a rubric may be applied to OWL Tests, Sections, or Items. Some advantages of using a rubric for scoring include:

  • Efficiency - Time spent developing a rubric will be rewarded with ease and speed of grading.
  • Transparent Benchmarks - Establishes clear benchmarks for learning and achievement.
  • Results Orientation - Test takers become aware of the expected standards.
  • Quantifiable Ratings - Grading becomes more objective, consistent and defensible.

The OWL Builder interface uses the following terminology to define the elements of a rubric.

  • Rating - the level of performance achieved
  • Competencies - the criteria of performance that are being evaluated
  • Descriptors - a description of performance at the each rating/level for the specific competency.


Types of Rubrics

A rubric can be created using any one of the following combination in OWL.
Click on each box to see a sample.




  • Holistic - The rater gives one overall rating of performance on the item/section/test. There may be multiple performance competencies to consider; however, only one overall rating is given for the entire performance.
    • The rater is only given one set radio buttons to select for the entire rubric.
    • Raters have the ability to attached predefined comments

  • Analytic (or Non-Holistic) - A rating level for each competency is selected. In the OWL rating module the rater selects a radio button for each row in the rubric.
    • The rater is given radio buttons for each row (competency) of the rubric.

  • Scored - The rubric applies a percentage (of the available points) to the item based on the level achieved.
    • Points Earned = Total Item Points x Weight associated with Level of Performance

  • Unscored - Unscored rubrics allow the rater to describe the student's performance with out giving it a point value. This can be a useful learning tool in identifying a student's performance abilities and identifying areas of improvement opportunity.