Rubrics – Why use them in the math class?

What are rubrics?
A rubric is an assessment tool that lists specific expectations for the solution to a problem, group/partner work, self-assessment or success with a specific task. The rubric should be clear, kid-friendly and concise. It’s even better when you create a rubric with your students so they have buy-in to the whole process. The feedback with the use of the rubric should be timely (within a concept) so students can learn from their misconceptions and adjust to show growth. Rubrics are also a great tool to use with goals setting and conferencing with students.

What are different types of rubrics?
• Generic – could be applied to any problem/performance task or situation in the math class.


• Self-Assessment of understanding – gives students a chance to reflect on their level of understanding.


• Task specific – goes with a specific problem or performance task. The rubric typically sites specific examples.

cookie dough

cookie dough rubric

• Process of solving a problem – based on the process or steps used to think through and solve a problem.

jigsaw rubric

• Situation specific – could be based on the process of thinking through a problem or even assessing group or partner work.

situation specific

What are the different uses of rubrics?
• To assess work with partners/groups
• To provide feedback on a specific performance task
• To provide feedback on a journal entry
• To assess the process of how you get the solution to a problem
• To self-assess understanding
• To set goals

How do I get student buy-in with the use of rubrics?
Have students give input into the creation of the rubric. This will give them clear expectations for what their work should look like.
• Considering using the 5 senses: I should see…, I should hear…, etc. to make it clear and concise
• Consider using numbers, colors or graphics to determine the levels

self assess

How do I use rubric data to determine trends?
The purpose of rubrics is to give timely and clear feedback. The purpose is not to just average grades and place them in a gradebook. Record the rubric data in a part of the gradebook to determine trends of understanding students have. For example… “I noticed during Unit 3 Sam had a good clear understanding of multiplication and division, but in Unit 4 he struggled with 2d shapes… I need to give him additional support with this concept.” It is also helpful to communicate with parents their child’s strengths and weaknesses and come up with a goal for improvement.

self evaluate


Please visit or for more information on using rubrics in the math classroom.

For some examples on rubrics for the process of solving a problem look at the thermometer and jigsaw examples at

For example performance tasks, with task specific rubrics visit, and click under the performance assessment task titles for each domain that are linked.

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