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Owning the Rubric: Facilitating rubric co-construction

Tuesday 2 July: Pre-conference parallel workshop, 9:30am – 12:30pm



Room 206-217



Beverly J. Christian
Avondale College of Higher Education, Lake Macquarie, 582 Freemans Drive, Cooranbong

Peter Kilgour
Avondale College of Higher Education, Lake Macquarie, 582 Freemans Drive, Cooranbong

Carolyn Rickett
Avondale College of Higher Education, Lake Macquarie, 582 Freemans Drive, Cooranbong 

Wendy Jackson
Avondale College of Higher Education, Lake Macquarie, 582 Freemans Drive, Cooranbong

John Seddon
Avondale College of Higher Education, Lake Macquarie, 582 Freemans Drive, Cooranbong

Maria Northcote
Avondale College of Higher Education, Lake Macquarie, 582 Freemans Drive, Cooranbong 


Presentation type

Pre-conference workshop
2.5 hours + 30 minute break


Overview of workshop

During this workshop, the characteristics of effective rubrics will be shared with participants, based on an extensive literature review and consultation with a panel of assessment experts. These characteristics will then be used as the basis to critically analyse a collection of assessment rubrics from varied higher education disciplinary contexts. Based on experiences of lecturers and students who participated in the project, protocols will be presented for how to engage students in the process of co-constructing assessment rubrics with their lecturers. Lastly, a model for collaborative rubric co-construction will be shared with workshop participants who will then be encouraged to reflect on how the model, or aspects of it, could be applied to their own contexts.


Target audience

This workshop has been designed for university educators including lecturers, tutors and education designers who are engaged in the processes of course design, assessment design and rubric construction. The workshop activities and resources are not discipline-specific.


Intended outcomes for participants

By the end of the workshop, it is anticipated that participants will be able to:

  • identify effective rubric characteristics from literature and assessment experts;
  • critically analyse rubric examples using effective rubric characteristics;
  • describe methods used to facilitate teacher-student co-construction of assessment rubrics; and
  • based on an analysis of a model of rubric co-construction, reflect on how some aspects of this model could be applied to your teaching context.


Workshop plan

Activities and discussion:

  • Introduction to the workshop. Overview of activities and intended outcomes (whole group).
  • Effective rubric characteristics. Brainstorm and share effective rubric characteristics (in pairs/ whole group)
  • Sample rubrics. Participants evaluate rubrics (in pairs, mixture of disciplines). Consideration of evaluation findings in relation to courses and assessment tasks that do and do not require rubrics (whole group).
  • Co-construction protocols. Facilitators share rubric co-construction protocols (whole group). Discuss limitations and opportunities for co-construction, and how to overcome challenges in online and on-campus courses.
  • Model of collaborative rubric construction and use. Presentation of model with considerations of application in practical contexts.
  • Guided reflection. Reflection on own practice and goal setting (individual, partner from same discipline).

Questions to trigger discussion:

  • What are the qualities of an effective rubric?
  • What value is there in engaging students in assessment design and rubric construction?
  • What institutional barriers exist when implementing rubric co-construction processes?
  • How can these institutional barriers be overcome?
  • How does the co-construction of rubrics impact on student learning and/or students’ learning intentions?


Explanation about how the workshop addresses one of the conference sub-themes

The overall conference theme, Next generation, higher education: Challenges, changes and opportunities, is addressed in this pre-conference workshop through the activities and outcomes which are focused on exploring the opportunity for lecturers and students to collaborate in assessment design processes. Rubric co-construction represents a change in the way assessment rubrics are typically designed. While collaboration between lecturers and students to co-construct rubrics may open up many pedagogical opportunities to promote students’ engagement in their own learning, the practical ramifications of such a collaborative example of curriculum design may introduce institutional challenges that need consideration. The topic of this workshop also addresses the following conference subtheme: Students/ Working in partnership The workshop focuses on a set of processes that may be used to facilitate the co-construction of assessment rubrics and the later use of these rubrics by the lecturers and students who designed them together in the first place. This is an example of lecturers and students working in partnership, not only in the assessment process that takes place within a course, but in the process of designing the assessment rubrics which may take place before the course begins or, in some cases, during the beginning of the course.



The research reported in this paper was funded by an Innovation and Development Grant from the Office for Learning and Teaching (OLT), Australia: Owning the rubric: Student engagement in rubric design and use, grant no. ID16-5374. The institutions involved in this grant included Avondale College of Higher Education, The University of Technology Sydney and Charles Sturt University.


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