Resources

As law professors strive to provide more formative assessment and more meaningful evaluation of student performance, rubrics have become a hallmark of good assessment practices. They provide clear direction for students and a more focused classroom experience. After their presentation at the...
Assessment is crucial to effective teaching and learning. Carnegie's Educating Lawyers and Roy Stuckey's Best Practices for Legal Education emphasize the importance of assessment. This article explains how detailed, written grading criteria describing what students should learn and how they will be...
Professors Michael Hunter Schwartz, Sophie Sparrow, and Gerry Hess, three leaders in the teaching and learning movement in legal education, have collaborated to offer a new book designed to synthesize the latest research on teaching and learning for new and experienced law teachers. The topics...

Rubrics/Class Expectations

A rubric is a set of criteria that is used to assess a particular student assignment or exam, and ideally should be a reflection of the specific learning goals that have been determined and communicated to the students for the assignment or exam. One of the most difficult things to do in teaching, however, is to determine learning goals because to do so, we must address a variety of issues “up front.” For example: What exactly do we want students to learn and describe? What is reasonable to expect from students at this point in the course? What is important for the students to do to demonstrate their understanding of the assignment: apply factual data or describe relationships between different aspects of the subject? 

Designing a rubric requires that we determine what is most important and meaningful for the assignment. Communicating it to the students beforehand informs them of the learning goals and helps them focus on what is important in the assignment. Having a pre-determined rubric to guide the evaluation of student work also informs and improves the grading process. The good news for law faculty is that rubrics that help with the development of both course and individual assignment learning goals are readily accessible.