Institutional Assessment & Studies University of Virginia

Mailing Address
University of Virginia
Office of Institutional Assessment and Studies
P.O. Box 400727
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4727
Physical Address
445 Rugby Road
Charlottesville, VA 22903


What's New?

The 2014 SERU (Student Experience in the Research University) Survey results are here.

**Our assessment reporting templates can be found here.**

iRubric is now available at UVa. iRubric is a comprehensive tool for developing, sharing and using rubrics for grading and assessment.

Visit our List of Improvements page to see how departments around the University have used results from their assessments.

Curious about our Learning Grants program? Take a look at the 2012-2013 winners.

How are assessment reports evaluated? See the rubric here.

Quick Links

The University Assessment Advisory Committee

Try your hand at developing a rubric with the help of our rubrics page.

Attend a work session or review materials from past work sessions.


Rubrics can be a powerful educational tool for sharing expectations with students and then subsequently for grading students' work. When rubrics (or portions of rubrics) are designed around student learning outcomes, the completed rubrics can be used to assess how well students have acquired the skills and knowledge described in the learning outcomes. Click on the image below to see how grades and assessment can be combined.

Grades And Assessment

Developing a Rubric

  • Clearly define the assignment including the topic, the process that students will work through, and the product they are expected to produce.
  • Brainstorm a list of what you expect to see in the student work that demonstrates the particular learning outcome(s) you are assessing.
  • Keep the list manageable (3-8 items) and focus on the most important abilities, knowledge, or attitudes expected.
  • Edit the list so that each component is specific and concrete (for instance, what do you mean by coherence?), use action verbs when possible, and descriptive, meaningful adjectives (e.g., not "adequate" or "appropriate" but "correctly" or "carefully").
  • Establish clear and detailed standards for performance for each component. Avoid relying on comparative language when distinguishing among performance levels. For instance, do not define the highest level as "thorough" and the medium level as "less thorough". Find descriptors that are unique to each level.
  • Develop a scoring scale.
  • Test the rubric with more than one rater by scoring a small sample of student work. Are your expectations too high or too low? Are some items difficult to rate and in need of revision?

Using a Rubric

  • Evaluators should meet together for a training/norming session.
  • A sample of student work should be examined and scored
  • More than one faculty member should score the student work. Check to see if raters are applying the standards consistently
  • If two faculty members disagree significantly (.e.g. more than 1 point on a 4 point scale) a third person should score the work.
  • If frequent disagreements arise about a particular item, the item may need to be refined or removed

By using a rubric to evaluate complex student work, faculty can produce both grades and assessment data simultaneously.


iRubric is a comprehensive tool for developing, sharing, and using rubrics for grading and assessment. It is available through Collab Gradebook. More on UVa and iRubric can be found here.

Sample Rubrics

You may find it useful to begin with a pre-existing rubric and customize it to suit your purposes. The following links provide sample rubrics for a variety of learning outcomes.

VALUE Rubrics

The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) has developed and made available 15 rubrics through the VALUE Project that address essential learning outcomes. Individuals at AAC&U member institutions are welcome to reproduce the VALUE rubrics for use in the classroom and in intra-institutional publications. Please be sure to credit AAC&U using the following permission statement: "Reprinted [or Excerpted] with permission from [Title]. Copyright [Year] by the Association of American Colleges and Universities." A permission fee will be assessed for requests to reprint the rubrics in course packets or in publications intended for sale. Please see AAC&U’s permission policies about how to request permission.

Intellectual and Practical Skills

Inquiry and Analysis

Critical Thinking

Creative Thinking

Written Communication

Oral Communication


Quantitative literacy

Information literacy


Problem Solving

Personal and Social Responsibility

Civic Knowledge and Engagement – local and global

Intercultural Knowledge and Competence

Global Learning

Ethical Reasoning

Foundations and Skills for Lifelong Learning

Integrative and Applied Learning

Integrative and Applied Learning

The VALUE rubrics were developed by teams of faculty experts representing colleges and universities across the United States through a process that examined many existing campus rubrics and related documents for each learning outcome and incorporated additional feedback from faculty. The rubrics articulate fundamental criteria for each learning outcome, with performance descriptors demonstrating progressively more sophisticated levels of attainment. The rubrics are intended for institutional-level use in evaluating and discussing student learning, not for grading. The core expectations articulated in all 15 of the VALUE rubrics can and should be translated into the language of individual campuses, disciplines, and even courses. The utility of the VALUE rubrics is to position learning at all undergraduate levels within a basic framework of expectations such that evidence of learning can be shared nationally through a common dialog and understanding of student success.

Featured UVA Rubrics

The following seven rubrics were created by Emily Scida, Department of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese, University of Virginia. They focus on five areas of student learning: composition (three levels: 1000, 2000 and 3000); cross-cultural composition; oral exam; presentation; and class participation.

Composition - 1000 Level (University of Virginia)
Composition - 2000 Level (University of Virginia)
Composition - 3000 Level (University of Virginia)
Cross-Cultural Composition (University of Virginia)
Oral Examination (University of Virginia)
Presentation (University of Virginia)
Participation (University of Virginia)

The Undergraduate Research Assessment Committee developed this rubric for assessing student research projects or papers.

Undergraduate Research (University of Virginia)

General Education

Action Project (Miami University)
Capstone Project (University of Virginia, work in progress)
Critical Thinking and Writing (Miami University)
Information Literacy (McKendree College)
Oral Communication (University of Virginia)
Online Discussion (Boise State University)
Team Projects (University of Virginia)
Writing (CLAQWA; University of South Florida)

Arts and Humanities

Book Review (Miami University)
Classics (Miami University)
Drama (Miami University)
English (Miami University)
Humanities and the Arts (Minnesota State)
Narrative Essay (Maricopa)
Philosophy and Religion (Buena Vista)
Theatre Appreciation (Miami University)


SEAS Graduate Program Assessment Site (University of Virginia)


Liberal Studies Seminar (BIS - University of Virginia, work in progress)


Language Presentation (Oakland University)
Critical Thinking - Linguistics (Miami University)


Science Lab (National Health Lab)

Social Sciences

Critical Thinking - Anthropology (Miami University)


The below resources may be useful in developing and using a rubric.

Rubric worksesion materials
Teaching Resource Center Newsletter: "Grading with Rubrics" (.pdf)
Create Rubrics with Rubistar (external link)