Rubrics Tips and Tricks

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Blackboard Rubrics

Crossing the Rubricon - Exploring Criteria Sheets and Scoring Guides for Grading. This resource is from a recent workshop for GA and TAs discovering the added value of using rubrics with assessments when providing grades and/or feedback.


Rubrics are an effective means to communicate the expectations for an assignment, and can be used to efficiently provide specific, targeted feedback to students about the strengths and weaknesses of their assignments.

Blackboard Learn rubrics can be associated with any gradable assessment submitted through Blackboard, including Assignments, Tests, Discussion Boards, Blogs, Wikis, etc. It is also possible to associate a rubric with a Grade Centre Column and use it to mark assignments that have been submitted off-line. While a default rubric is provided, Blackboard rubrics are completely customizable, both in terms of the levels of proficiency articulated and the criteria by which students will be evaluated.

How do I create a Rubric?

  1. Go to the Control Panel, select Course Tools and click on Rubrics
  2. Click on the Create Rubric button
  3. Edit the Rubric. You may add or delete rows and columns, as well as customize the text for all levels.
  4. Note that once the rubric is created, it will then have to be associated with the relevant assignment or Grade Center Column

For details on the settings and customization of rubrics, please visit the Blackboard Help files.

How do I import/export a completed Bb rubric?

You can share rubrics between Blackboard Learn courses. If you teach multiple courses, you can create a rubric in one course, export it, and then import it into another. You can also share the exported file with other instructors to use in their Blackboard Learn courses.

You need to make all changes to rubrics inside a Blackboard Learn course. Don't make changes to the exported ZIP file.


To export a rubric follow the steps below:

  1. Go to the Control Panel, select Course Tools and click on Rubrics
  2. Select the check box next to the rubric's title and select Export.
  3. You can save it to your computer or the Content Collection (hint - remember where you saved the file so you can navigate to it in the Import steps).


To import a rubric follow the steps below:

  1. Go to the Control Panel, select Course Tools and click on Rubrics
  2. To import a rubric, select Import Rubric and browse for the file.
  3. Select Submit to upload the file.

Attaching a Rubric to an Assignment

To attach a rubric to your assignment follow the steps below:

  1. Navigate to the assignment that you would like to attach a rubric to.
  2. Click on the chevron next to the assignment. Click on Edit.
  3. Scroll down to the Grading section of the page, click on the Add Rubric. From the drop-down list, click on Select Rubrics.
  4. A window will appear of all the rubrics that you have uploaded, select the box next to the rubric you want to select for the assignment and clickSubmit.
  5. Optional: You can choose the availability of the rubric to students by selecting Yes or No.
  6. Optional: You can create a rubric right inside of the assignment. From the drop-down list of Add Rubrics, you can select the Create New Rubric option. The same options will appear as if you were creating a rubric from the Course tools.

Marking with a Rubric

Blackboard Rubrics facilitate efficient marking by allowing an instructor (or other graders) to simply select a radial button that matches the level of achievement for each particular criteria, and will add the scores automatically. Built in feedback boxes provide the opportunity to provide very specific feedback on each criterion, as well as overall summative comments at the end. Note: It is very important to save the rubric before navigating away from the page, or work may be lost. You can select either Save as Draft or Submit. If submitted, the grade will automatically be entered in the Grade Center.

Known Issues

Inline grading in Blackboard will time out after one hour, and so if spending this amount of time on a given assignment or if you step away from grading for any period of time, be sure to save your work. Rubrics can be saved as a draft if your marking is not yet complete.

Tips and Tricks

  1. Ensure students are clear on the assignment expectations and the criteria that they will be evaluated on by making rubrics visible to students before as well as after grading. (When setting up the assignment, ensure that the Show Rubrics to Students option is set to Yes).
  2. A saved rubric can still be edited even after it has been submitted, and so if need be, a grader can return to a rubric. (Simply click on the grey chevron in the specific cell for a given student assignment and select either the attempt or View Grade Details.) Note, however, that a saved rubric cannot be returned to the original blank.
  3. If you prefer a more holistic style of rubric, one method to achieve this is to have one single row worth 100% of the grade, and then use the other rows for feedback purposes only. To do this, simply set the value of other rows at 0%. This will allow you to give feedback on a particular criteria without assigning it a specific point value. Summative feedback can then be provided in the row that is set to calculate the entire grade.

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