The rubric: if you can describe it, you can measure it

A rubric is a tool to that answers the question: “by what criteria would we measure success?” We know that performance spans a spectrum, and we know that performance at any point on the spectrum helps us understand what it looks like at any other point on the spectrum. A rubric, therefore, is a matrix that helps you describe not just what success would look like, but also what poor performance looks like, as well as shades in between.

Here’s a quick example:

Poor (1) Fair (2) Good (3) Excellent (4)

Imagine describing what you don’t want your work to look like at this level.

Imagine describing what fair work would look like.

Imagine describing what you feel good work would look like. This is likely what the organization is currently doing.

Imagine describing what you do want your work to look like at this level.


Simply put, a rubric provides you with a place to park your thinking. Rubrics come in all sizes. They can encompass concepts as big and broad as civic engagement, to community health and well being, to something as simple as kitchen cleanliness. There is almost nothing that doesn’t yield to description.

For non-linear browsing of the online Assessment Workshop click on the links below:

How To Navigate This Workshop

You may choose to go through this workshop in a linear, page by page fashion, by clicking on the "Next" and "Previous" buttons at the bottom of each step.

If you want to browse through the steps, jump around, or need to go back a few steps, use the "non-linear" menu of steps at the bottom of each page.

If you are familiar with this workshop, and you are looking to refresh your memory, we think the following steps about the Rubric, which is the tool at the heart of this workshop, might be most useful to you: