Different assignment types may require different grading scales and different numbers of levels. As you develop your rubric, decide how many different levels it should have. For example, you may choose a rubric with three or four levels for an essay assignment, while a one-level rubric (or credit/no credit) may be useful for smaller assignments and save you time when grading. You may also consider whether to list the highest possible level of achievement first or last. Be mindful with your word choice when labeling your rating scales, especially if the grading rubric will be shared with the student. As Stevens & Levi note, “labeling the levels on the scale can be a delicate matter. We need to be clear about expectations and about failures as well as successes, yet we also try to avoid overly negative or competitive labels. These can discourage students" (pg 41).
Weak, Satisfactory, Strong
Beginning, Intermediate, High
Weak, Average, Excellent
Developing, Competent, Exemplary
Low Mastery, Average Mastery, High Mastery
Unacceptable, Marginal, Proficient, Distinguished
Beginning, Developing, Accomplished, Exemplary
Needs Improvement, Satisfactory, Good, Accomplished
Emerging, Progressing, Partial Mastery, Mastery
Not Yet Competent, Partly Competent, Competent, Sophisticated
Inadequate, Needs Improvement, Meets Expectations, Exceeds Expectations
Poor, Fair, Good, Excellent
Poor, Minimal, Sufficient, Above Average, Excellent
Novice, Intermediate, Proficient, Distinguished, Master
Unacceptable, Poor, Satisfactory, Good, Excellent
Unacceptable, Emerging, Minimally Acceptable, Acceptable, Accomplished, Exemplary
Stevens, Dannelle D. and Antonia Levi (2005). Introduction to Rubrics : An Assessment Tool to Save Grading Time, Convey Effective Feedback, and Promote Student Learning. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing.
Stanny, Claudia J. and Linda B. Nilson. (2014). Specifications Grading: Restoring Rigor, Motivating Students, and Saving Faculty Time. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing.