What is an Essay Rubric?

February 28, 2018

When you begin at a new college or university, one requirement for success which may surprise you is the need to suddenly expand your knowledge of jargon and even your ability to use a dictionary in an effective way. In fact, the meanings of words in the world of scholars are different from those in the rest of the world. The academic world has language and terms for things that you may never have considered as needing a word to describe them. Rubric is one such word with which you will need to familiarize yourself.


At the post-secondary level, essay rubrics are common, and you’ll find them extremely helpful. An academic rubric for an essay is a set of specific criteria used for assessing whether or not your have met the requirements of your course. Rubrics allow the student to self assess and check their work as they progress to ensure that they are meeting all the requirements to the best of their abilities. A rubric will let you know what is important and what to make sure you focus on and include in your work.


As well, a rubric will most likely clearly lay out specific set of rules that will help you to improve the quality and performance of your essay. These rules often broken into minimum expectations at different levels for grading purposes. This allows all students to know and understand the grading criteria from the start in order to succeed.


If your professor provides a rubric for an essay assignment, you need to focus on its elements. It can become a checklist for you as you work, allowing you to ensure that you have met all the required criteria. If the rubric is detailed, you can be sure to cover everything to the best of your abilities. Sometimes you will be given a course rubric as well, which sets the standards for the class, but often provides insight into the professor and what they believe, as you can see what they feel is most important. Use rubrics as often as possible as you will need this tool for your success in university.