Assessment rubrics, by setting benchmarks for student learning and achievement, are effective tools for evaluating a wide variety of student learning activities. And beyond providing teachers with helpful guidelines for student assessment, rubrics also improve learning because students can understand the evaluation criteria and take them into account as they complete their work.

Creating a good rubric on paper can be time-consuming, but Web-based rubrics are comprehensive and easy to use. There is a plethora of Web sites for rubrics, so teachers at all levels of tech experience can create custom rubrics in minutes.

One such Web site is RubiStar, a free site that provides generic rubrics in a format that can be easily customized. See the box below on how to create a rubric template from the site. For more information on rubrics, visit these other Web sites:

Look out for upcoming issues of Instructor, where a future Electronic Learning column will review how to create grade books using Excel.

Create an Oral Presentation Rubric

Follow these steps to create a test rubric using RubiStar. An example of a rubric built using these steps can be viewed at

  1. Go to and click on "Oral Projects" then click on "Oral Presentation."
  2. Scroll down and click in the Teacher Name text box and type your name. Click in the Project Name text box and type "Demo." Type your three-digit area code next to Area Phone Code. (Note: Since RubiStar is a free Web site, supported by the U.S. Department of Education, it uses the area code to report where its users live. This is the only data collected by the site.) 
  3. Click the "Select a Rating Scale" menu and choose "Descriptive Rating Scale". The top row of the rubric will fill in automatically with the four levels of the rating scale. To edit the scale, highlight the word you'd like to change and type in your own description.
  4. Click the "Select Category" pull-down menu and select "Preparedness." The text boxes to the right will automatically fill in with content related to the category. Repeat this process to select three additional categories. If you'd like to customize any of the text, simply click in the box and make the desired changes. 
  5. To complete your test rubric, scroll down to the bottom of the page and click "Make a Printable Rubric." When creating your own rubric, select "Make and Save Printable Rubric" when you are finished. You will be able to save your rubric online, create custom categories, and access your rubric from any computer connected to the Internet! You can also cut and paste the rubric to a Microsoft Word file to save on your hard drive.