E-Learning Unit


Using a rubric to mark an assignment

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For: StaffApplication: Grading & Feedback , QMplusTagged: assignment , feedback , marking , rubric

If you are using the QMplus assignment activity to set and collect student work, you can set up a rubric to mark that work.

A rubric is a type of grading form which consists of a set of criteria. For each individual criterion, several descriptive levels are provided each with a numerical grade assigned to it. To use the rubric, the marker chooses which level best fits the work and the mark associated with that level is automatically assigned. The overall grade is the sum of the grades awarded for each level.

Using a rubric can potentially help in a number of ways, including:

  • Allowing the students to see the rubric before they submit their work will make it clear how they are going to be assessed
  • Speeding up the marking process as the marker just has to choose the appropriate level for each criterion
  • Providing a consistent framework for the grades and feeback that are returned to students

You can define your own rubrics and tailor how these are seen by both the students and those doing the marking. You can also re-use rubrics between assignments, even those which are in different course areas on QMplus.

Note – if you have enabled the Turnitin plagiarism detection service for your assignment, you also have the choice of using rubrics through the Turnitin Feedback Studio tools. See our guide on Marking a Turnitin assignment with Feedback Studio for more details.


Setting up a rubric

To set up a rubric, you must first have created an assignment activity in your QMplus area. In the settings for the assignment, scroll to the Grade section.

Rubric screen 1

  1. Enter the type of grade for the assignment, in this case we’re using points but you may be marking with a scale.
  2. For a points based assignment, enter the maximum grade for the assignment
  3. Choose Rubric from the Grading method drop down

Scroll to the bottom of the screen and click Save and display.

Rubrics screen 1In the settings block, click on Assignment administration>Advanced grading>Define rubric

Creating a rubric from scratch

Rubric screen 2

Click on the Define new grading form from scratch icon. You will now be on the rubric setup screen.

Rubric screen 3

  1. Enter a name for your rubric
  2. Enter a description for your rubric. This description can be displayed to those doing the marking and/or the students so you may wish to word it appropriately

Now you have to define the criteria that you wish to mark on and set up the levels for each of these.

Rubric screen 4

Click on the Click to edit criterion text and enter the name of the criterion. Next click on the Click to edit level text and enter a description for the level. Remember, this description will be seen by markers and students so it needs to make sense for both audiences. Cick on the points text to set the number of points you wish to allocate to each level.

Rubric screen 5

If you need another level, click on the Add level button.

Rubric screen 6

Once you have completed the details for one criterion, you can add another by clicking the Add criterion button and repeating the process.

Rubric screen 8

You should end up with a rubric that looks something like the above.

In the Rubric options section, you can control what is shown to students and what is show to those doing the marking.

Rubric screen 9

The items marked 1 control what students see:

  • Allow users to preview rubric – if this is checked, the students will see the rubric definition in their assignment view before they submit the assignment. This allows them to see how their work will be marked before they submit it. If unchecked, they will only see the rubric after their work has been graded.
  • Display rubric description to those being graded – if this is checked the students will be able to see the description that you entered for the rubric. If your rubric description does not contain information which is useful to your students, uncheck this box to hide it from them.
  • Display points for each level to those being graded – if this is not checked the students will see the description for each level but not the points associated with that level. They will see their overall grade and the level they have been assigned for each criterion but they will not see how many marks they have been assigned for each criterion.
  • Show remarks to those being graded – if the rubric has been set up to allow markers to enter comments for each criterion, checking this box will show the comments to the students.

The items marked 2 control what markers see:

  • Display rubric description during evaluation – show the rubric description to the markers
  • Display points for each level during evaluation – show the markers the marks assigned for each level. Arguably hiding the marks could make markers focus more on the level descriptions and whether the work meets them rather than focussing on grades.
  • Allow grader to add text remarks for each criterion – if this is checked, the marker can leave a comment for each criterion. This comment can either be displayed to the student or hidden from them. e.g. A hidden comment field may be useful in situations where moderation is required.

Once you have completed the rubric set up, scroll to the bottom of the page and click Save rubric and make it ready. If your rubric set up is correct, it will now be ready to use for marking. If there are errors, these will be highlighted and you will have to fix them before the rubric can be used.

You can also click Save as draft if you have not completed the rubric definition and want to finish it later.

Creating a rubric from a template

Instead of defining a rubric from scratch, you can make use of rubrics that are already on QMplus. These may be:

  1. Rubrics that you have created yourself for other assignments
  2. Rubrics that have been shared as templates across QMplus.

Rubric screen 13

Click the Create new grading form from a template icon.

You will be presented with a screen which lists all the shared rubrics in QMplus that you can choose from. These are rubrics which have been published as templates for all QMplus users to user.

To include your own rubrics in the list, use the search box at the top of the screen.

screen 14

  1. Check Include my own forms
  2. Click Search

This will list all of the rubrics you have created on QMplus. If you have a lot of rubrics, you can narrow the search by typing keywords to search for in your rubric definition.

Rubric screen 15Once you have found the rubric that you want to use, look for the Use this form as a template, link at the bottom of the rubric definition. This can be a bit difficult to see amongst all the rubrics, look for the green tick. Click on the link and then click Continue

Rubric screen 16

If you want to change anything about the rubric, click on the edit rubric icon. Otherwise the rubric is now ready to use on your assignment.

Note that editing the rubric does not make any changes to the rubric template.

Marking with a rubric

Rubric screen 17To mark student work with a rubric first click on the assignment and then click on the View/grade all submissions button.

Rubric screen 18

Click on the grading icon for the student you wish to mark. Scroll down until you can see the Grade section with the rubric.

Rubric screen 10

For each criterion, click on the level you wish to assign to the work. Your selection will be highlighted in green. If the comments field has been enabled, you will be able to enter a text comment for each criterion too.

Once completed. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on Save changes or Save and show next to move on to grade the next student.

QMplus will work out the overall grade that should be assigned given the levels selected and will update the grade for the student work.

If necessary you can revisit the work and change the level selected.

How students see their grade and feedback

Rubric screen 17Once grading has been completed and the grades released to the students they will be able to see the grade and feedback by clicking on the assignment link.

Rubric screen 12

The detail of what they see is controlled by the rubric options settings. In this case they are able to see the points available for each level, the level they have been assigned is highlighted in green and the feedback comment left by the marker. The overall grade for the assignment is visible at the bottom of the rubric table.

If you have enabled the gradebook in your QMplus area, the student will also be able to see their grade in the gradebook.

Tips for using rubrics

Construct your rubric on paper first

It can be useful to think about what you want your rubric to look like before you start constructing it on QMplus, especially when thinking about the grades being assigned. Draw it up on paper before you start entering it into QMplus and ensure that the maximum grade for the rubric matches the maximum grade set for the assignment.

Sharing rubrics

It is possible for rubrics to be shared between teachers. At the moment, only administrators can make a rubric available to other teachers and they can only be shared site wide. If you have a rubric you think would be useful to be made available to all QMplus users as a template, please contact the E-Learning Unit either though the Helpdesk or via

Using rubrics with other feedback types

It is possible to use rubrics along with other online feedback types such as:

  • Feedback comments
  • Feedback files
  • Inline comments
  • PDF annotation

Creating rubrics for offline activities

It is possible to set up an assignment and a rubric for student activities that are not submitted online e.g. performances and presentations.

Combining marking by hand with online rubrics

You may choose to provide detailed feedback to students by marking up a paper copy of their submission. You could, however, still use a QMplus rubric to record overall grades and feedback. As this is online it means that it is available to people like external examiners or personal tutors and to students..even if they lose, or never pick up, their hard copy marked work.

Offline grading

It is not possible to use the offline grading worksheet to upload the data for rubrics. The rubrics must be filled in online.

Turnitin assignments

Turnitin has its own online marking tool called Grademark. It is possible to set up rubrics and marking guides for Turnitin assignments in Grademark. Here is a link on a video tutorial.

Did this answer your query? If not, you can raise a ticket on the online Helpdesk or email: . Alternatively you can also request a particular guide or highlight an error in this guide using our guides request tracker.

Produced by the the E-Learning Unit at Queen Mary University of London.

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