Rubrics and UDL

Explicit assessment rubrics allow learners to better understand the assignment, how they will be graded, and plan their time accordingly to complete the work to the best of their ability. In addition, when assignment expectations are clearly defined on a rubric, grading can be more efficient and concise.

UDL does not have an ideal rubric type, that is to say, the ideal rubric for UDL is the one that can accurately support the measurement of student knowledge for the course learning outcome(s) without constricting the options of how a learner can show what they know. A rubric designed with UDL in mind takes into consideration:

  • That the assessment, and therefore the rubric design, will be based on the learning outcome(s) being measured, not the assessment method chosen.
  • That the rubric will be provided to students with the assessment outline to ensure they know how they will be graded for a specific assignment, and what knowledge is being measured.

That the submission options provided to the learners allows them to accurately demonstrate their knowledge and have that knowledge accurately assessed. For example, including spelling and grammar as a rubric element when it is not the learning outcome being assessed limits submission options to only written assignments. See the Submission Options webpage for more information.

Educators sometimes feel that they need to have a different rubric for each way a student can submit an assessment, but this is not the case. If the rubric is based on evaluating the learning outcome(s) the assessment is for, and worded appropriately for a variety of submission options, one rubric will be able to support a larger variety of assessment submission options. For example, if your assessment allows learners to choose if they would like to write an essay, create a video presentation, or develop a detailed infographic, including spelling and grammar in the rubric will not include all submission options. Instead, using a phrase like “clearly articulate” would encompass all of the submission options offered and allow one rubric to be used to evaluate the learning outcome(s) of the assessment.


To implement:

  1. Determine the right type of rubric for your course and your assessments.
  2. Adapt the rubric to meet the specific needs of the learning outcome(s) being assessed.
  3. Post the rubric with the assessment and draw students’ attention to the rubric.

More information regarding how to create rubrics can be found on the Centre for Teaching & Learning’s Rubric Design webpage.