Examples of Innovative Assessments

Types of Rubrics: Holistic and Analytic

There are two types of rubrics and of methods for evaluating students’ efforts: holistic and analytic rubrics.

Select each rubric type identified below to see an example.


Holistic rubrics

  • single criteria rubrics (one-dimensional) used to assess participants' overall achievement on an activity or item based on predefined achievement levels;
  • performance descriptions are written in paragraphs and usually in full sentences.

Research Paper (Holistic Rubric)

Score Criteria
4 (80-100%) Research paper demonstrates complete understanding and execution of the assigned objectives. Thesis statement/argument is clearly stated, complex and original, and the writing does not spend excessive time on any one point of development at the expense of developing other points in the body of the paper. Writing is also error-free, without ambiguity, and reads smoothly, creatively, and with a purpose.
3 (70-79%) Research paper demonstrates considerable understanding and execution of the assigned objectives. Thesis statement/argument is stated, verges on the complex and original, and the writing shows accuracy and balance in developing body points, but may exhibit occasional weaknesses and lapses in correctness. Writing also has some errors and ambiguities, yet does read clearly and coherently.
2 (60-69%) Research paper demonstrates some understanding and execution of the assigned objectives. Thesis statement/argument is faintly stated and/or expected and not confident, and the writing is inconsistent in terms of balance in developing body points, and exhibits weaknesses and lapses in correctness. Writing also has many errors and ambiguities, and may read confusingly and incoherently.
1 (50-59%) Research paper demonstrates limited understanding and execution of the assigned objectives. Thesis statement/argument is simplistic, unoriginal, and/or not present at all, and the writing is unbalanced in developing body points, weak, and incomplete. Writing also has numerous errors and ambiguities, and reads confusingly and incoherently.

Adapted from John Bean, Engaging Ideas, Exhibit 15.4: Holistic Scale for Grading Article Summaries (262)


Analytic rubrics

  • two-dimensional rubrics with levels of achievement as columns and assessment criteria as rows. Allows you to assess participants' achievements based on multiple criteria using a single rubric. You can assign different weights (value) to different criteria and include an overall achievement by totaling the criteria;
  • written in a table form.

Research Paper (Analytic Rubric)

  Standards
Criteria Adequate (50-59%) Competent (60-69%) Good (70-79%) Excellent (80-100%)
Knowledge of forms, conventions, terminology, and strategies relative to the importance of sources to subject Demonstrates limited knowledge of forms, conventions, terminology, and strategies relative to importance of sources to subject Demonstrates some knowledge of forms, conventions, terminology, and strategies relative to importance of sources to subject Demonstrates considerable knowledge of forms, conventions, terminology, and strategies relative to importance of sources to subject Demonstrates thorough and insightful knowledge of forms, conventions, terminology, and strategies relative to importance of sources to subject
Critical and creative thinking skills Uses critical and creative thinking skills with limited effectiveness Uses critical and creative thinking skills with moderate effectiveness Uses critical and creative thinking skills with considerable effectiveness Uses critical and creative thinking skills with a high degree of effectiveness
Communication of information and idea Communicates information and idea with limited clarity Communicates information and ideas with some clarity Communicates information and ideas with considerable clarity Communicates information and ideas with a high degree of clarity and with confidence
Quality of argument and writing Argument is simple and unoriginal, and the writing is weak and inconsistent Argument takes on a fair and expected position, and the writing is moderately clear and coherent Argument bridges on the complex and original, and the writing is clear and coherent Argument is complex and original, and the writing is strong, fluid, and creatively coherent
Spelling and grammar Several errors in spelling and grammar A few errors in spelling and grammar Some errors in spelling and grammar No errors in spelling and grammar

Adapted from Centre for Teaching Excellence, Appendix B: Sample Analytic Rubric (“Rubrics: Useful Assessment Tools.