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Grade with Rubrics or Grading Guides in Moodle

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Rubrics are advanced grading forms that are useful for ensuring consistent grading practices, especially when grading as a team. Rubrics consist of a set of criteria and an evaluation scale with levels corresponding to point values. The raw rubric score is calculated as a sum of all criteria grades. The final grade is calculated by comparing the actual score with the worst/best possible score. For more on calculating grades, see Grade Calculation in Moodle.

Moodle lets you create a new grading form or make a copy of any rubric you already have in any of your Moodle courses. 

Grading Guides

Grading guides are a simple alternative to rubrics.

When grading with a Grading guide, the instructor designs a simple set of criteria and then, when assessing student work, a form is presented where they can leave a comment and a score for each criterion. The form then totals the scores to calculate a grade according to the Grade settings for the assignment.

Unlike a Rubric, a Grading guide does not let you rank each criterion according to more than one level; rather, each criterion has one comment box, and one box for entering a numeric score.

NoteAssignments and Worskhops directly use Rubrics or Grading guides. (Rubrics in Moodle are different from Turnitin Rubrics in Moodle.) To grade other activity types with a rubric, you can set up a separate assignment just for marking. For example, you could set up an ungraded Wiki activity called "Unit One Wiki", and a graded assignment called "Rubric for Unit One Wiki."

For help setting this up, contact the Instructional Media Lab at 413-545-2823 or

Create a New Rubric or Grading Guide

Once you have created an assignment, you can add a Rubric or Grading Guide. For instructions on how to create an assignment, see Add an Assignment Activity in Moodle.

To create a new Rubric or Grading Guide for an Assignment:

  1. Open the Assignment, and in the Actions menu (Gray gear iconActions menu icon) in the top right corner of the assignments page, click Advanced grading. The Advanced grading page will open. Under Change Active Grading Method, select Rubric or Grading guide.
    Note: If you are creating a new assignment, under Grade, from the Grading method drop-down menu, select Rubric or Grading guide. Click Save and Display and the Advanced grading page will open.
  2. On the Advanced grading page, click Define new grading form from scratch. The Define rubric or Define grading guide page will open.
  3. Enter a Name and Description for the grading form.
  4. To add criteria (the specific elements to be graded): For a Rubric the rubric will start out with one blank criterion in a row. For a Grading guide, the Grading guide will start out with one criterion in a box.
    ​For a Rubric:
    • Select Click to edit criterion. A blank entry box will appear. Enter a description for the Criterion.
    • The following boxes represent Levels for rating student performance. Graders will select the level that best describes the student's performance for that criterion. For each level select Click to edit level to add a description. To edit the points awarded for each level, click the points value.
      Note: You must start with a level that has a point value of ZERO (eg., scale ranging from 0-3). If you do not include a "0" level, the rubric grade will not calculate correctly.
    • To add a level, click Add level (at right). A new column will be added to the row.
    • To add a criterion, click + Add criterion (below row at left). A new editable box will appear. A new row will be added to the rubric table, opened to a description entry box. Enter the criterion description and edit the descriptions (and point values, if needed) for the levels.
    • To delete a criterion or a level, click Delete (X).
    • To duplicate a criterion, click the Duplicate criterion icon (Duplicate Criterion) (below the X at top left). This allows you to quickly make a copy of a row that you can then edit.
      rubric options (click to enlarge)

    For a Grading guide:

    • To reorder criteria, click the up or down arrows.
    • Select Click to edit criterion name to add a Name for the criterion.
    • Below Description for Students, Description for Markers, and Maximum mark, select Click to edit to edit the fields.
    • To add additional criterion, click Add criterion.
    • To add preset comments you can add for your criteria when grading, click + Add frequently used comments.

Select the Rubric options or Grading guide options for the assignment: These mostly control how much of the rubric your students can see and when; and for Rubrics, whether graders will have an entry box for additional text comments.

When you have filled out all the criterion and definitions, click Save rubric/grading guide and make it ready. You can also click Save as draft to save without having to complete the criterion and level definitions.
Note: You can always come back and edit your rubric by opening the Assignment, navigating to the Actions Menu (Gray gear iconActions menu icon>Advanced grading, and clicking Define rubric.

Copy (Re-use) a Rubric or Grading Guide

Instead of defining a new grading form from scratch, you can make a copy of an existing Advanced grading form from any of your Moodle courses by choosing to use it as a template. You can then edit the copy to fit the assignment you are grading without affecting the rubric you copied.

  1. On your course page, click Turn editing on (green pencil icon Turn editing on (green pencil icon, top right), top right). The edit links and icons will appear.
  2. To add a new Assignment:
    • In the Section of your course where you want the Assignment activity, click + Add an activity or resource then select Assignment and click Add. The Adding a new Assignment page will open.
    To use an Advanced grading form to grade an assignment already in the course:
    • Open the Assignment, and in the Actions menu, click Advanced grading. Skip to step 5 in these instructions.
  3. Configure settings for the assignment. From the Grading method drop-down menu, select Grading guide or Rubric.
  4. Click Save and display. The Advanced grading page will open.
  5. Click Create new grading form from a template. The Grading forms search page will open displaying templates shared by others which you have access to.
  6. To see your own Rubrics and Grading Guides, in the search area at the top of the Grading form search page, select include my own forms. If you know the name of the Grading form you are looking for, enter the Rubric or Grading Guide name in the search field. Click Search. The list will extend to include your grading forms (marked Own form).
    Note: If you did not enter a search term, you may need to scroll down to below the shared forms, to find your own Rubrics or Grading guides.
  7. To select a Grading form to use, click Use this template (at the bottom of the preview), a confirmation message will appear.Then click Continue to use the Grading form. The Advanced grading page will open to a COPY of the Grading form you used as a template. At this point the form is ready to use with your assignment.
  8. To make changes, click Edit the current form definition. We highly recommend you rename the form (e.g. for the course and semester used). Otherwise, if you frequently reuse forms you can end up with multiple forms with the same name which might be edited differently.
    Note: Any edits you make at this point will affect only the Grading form associated with the current assignment.
  9. When you are done editing, click Save. You will return to the Advanced grading page for the assignment.
  10. To return to your course, or to the assignment page, use the links in the Navigation tray on the left, or the breadcrumb links at the top of your Moodle page.

Grade an Assignment with a Rubric or Grading Guide

  1. On your course page, click the link to the assignment.
  2. On the Assignment page, click View/grade all submissions.
  3. In the Edit column for a particular student, click Grade. The Grading & feedback page for that student opens showing a grading form below the student's submission. 
  4. If using a Rubric:
    For each Criterion:
    • Click the level that you think best describes the student's performance. Once selected, levels are highlighted in light green.
    • To give written feedback (if the rubric includes a comment box for each criteria) enter comments in the text box at right.
      Note: If the rubric is edited later, the currently selected level is highlighted in green and the previously selected level is highlighted in red.
    • Scores will be automatically generated based on the level clicked for each criterion.
    If using a Grading guide:
    For each Criterion:
    • Enter feedback comments in the text box, or, if using Frequently used comments, click in the text box, then click a Frequently used comment.
    • Enter a numerical score.
  5. If Feedback Comments are enabled in the Assignment Settings, you can also give general comments on the entire submission in the Feedback comments entry box below the rubric.
  6. When you are done grading click Save changes or, to grade the next student's submission, click Save and show next.