Carnegie Mellon University

Eberly Center

Teaching Excellence & Educational Innovation

Instructor: Ting Chang
61-100: Critical Histories of Art, Center for Arts and Society,
College of Fine Arts
Rubrics for Assessing Student Writing
Reflection Writing Rubric

Research Project Writing Rubric


Several challenges that emerged in a similar course that I taught for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences also emerged in this course. This course is required for students in the College of Fine Arts, but very few students were used to the extensive reading and writing that the course involves. Students also asked me to clarify the requirements and scoring criteria for the writing assignments.


An internal advisory committee suggested developing writing rubrics to address these problems. Rubrics were developed for the series of reflection papers and for the final research paper. The students are given these rubrics at the beginning of the course and immediately prior to each assignment. The TAs for the course use the rubrics when grading and return the students’ writing assignments with the marked rubrics.


For the students, the rubrics have clarified the expectations for the writing assignments. For the TAs, the rubrics have made grading easier and more uniform.


The students did not understand all of the terms in the rubric (e.g., “reliable academic courses”), so I began to use the same terms in lectures so that students could understand the terms in the context of the class. I also use student feedback on ambiguous terms to revise the rubrics. The rubrics, with some revisions, continue to be used in the course.

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