Teacher Tap

Checklists and Rubrics

Identify and clearly describe three invasive species common in your area.
The graph must show the pH levels over a two week period.
An exemplary project contains no errors, detailed explanations, and at least three examples.

Checklists and rubrics provide detailed information about expectations.


Whether you're grading discussion postings or class projects, checklists and rubrics are helpful for both the instructor and the student. They provide the instructor an objective way to evaluate student performance and inform students about what is expected. This is particularly important in an online teaching environment. By providing concrete guidelines, instructors experience fewer questions, less misunderstandings, and fewer grade challenges.


A criterion-referenced checklist defines a set of performance criteria for addressing a learning objective. Enough detail must be provided so that students understand the expectation. Points are often awarded for meeting each item on the list.

Described risk factors for diabetes


A rubric defines a range of accomplishment related to the performance criteria indicating the degree to which a standard has been meet. The scoring system may be very simple such as 0 points for no work submitted, 1 point for adequate work, and 2 points for outstanding work. Providing additional detail or clarification make rubrics more effective. Rather than "outstanding work" you might say "provides at least 2 examples" or "clearly states pros and cons".

Described risk factors for diabetes
Unacceptable (0 Points) - Widespread factual errors; lacks descriptions
Minimal - (.5 Point) A couple factual errors; missing or incomplete descriptions
Satisfactory - (1 Point) No factual errors; basic descriptions
- (2 Points) All facts correct; detailed descriptions; ranked factors

Go to Rubistar for a rubric maker and lots of great examples.

Read Rubrics for Web Lessons by Nancy Pickett and Bernie Dodge for a nice overview of the use of rubrics in online teaching.

Explore a few examples:

Activities, Projects and Portfolios

Checklists and rubrics can be used to evaluate a wide range of student assignments including activities, projects, and portfolios.

Explore examples of portfolios used in assessment:

For additional information, read Student Project Assessment from Teacher Tap.

Learn more at Rubrics from Virtual Inquiry.

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