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 The following advice has been drawn from the project team’s experience of designing and implementing rubric co-construction processes in the context of a busy semester and while also collecting data from students and teachers about the process.

These recommendations are provided to other researchers and educators who are considering implementing a similar process or part of the rubric co-construction process as it is outlined in this website, Owning the Rubric.

Timing of co-construction

Careful consideration should be given to the timing of co-construction as there are a number of student issues and institutional issues which must be navigated. Ideally, it would be beneficial for students to co-construct and use a rubric within the semester that the course runs. However, many institutions require rubrics to be available in course outlines or course information documents prior to the beginning of semester. To co-construct the rubric near the end of the previous semester presents issues as both students and teachers find themselves under time pressure in the last few weeks of semester with other tasks. Involvement rates drop off the closer the project gets to the end of a semester.  Some institutions require this information up to a year in advance.  It is likely that co-constructing rubrics that far in advance would limit the feeling of ownership and the understanding which the co-construction achieves.

Thought must also be given to allowing adequate time for completion of the rubric co-construction process. Some of our groups found that four sessions of 50-60 minutes were adequate to complete the task, while others found that a least one more session would have been beneficial.  It is recommended to plan some flexibility into your co-construction schedule to allow for groups which might need more time to complete the task.

If the co-construction is to be part of a research project, extra time must be allowed for ethics committee clearance and data collection processes to be implemented.

Co-ordination of student involvement

If institutional requirements mean that the rubric must be constructed prior to the semester in which the course is offered, consideration must be given to how the students who will enrol in the course the following semester will be identified, contacted, recruited, and motivated. This may be accomplished easily in courses where students follow a set line-up of subjects but is more difficult in many courses where students have a range of options.

Further, thought must be given to the size of the group who will be involved.  Our project involved a small group of students in each unit rather than entire classes of students. The logistics of making this work with a large class have not been studied. This issue was also identified as a possible logistical challenge by both the student-participants and the lecturer-participants in the project.

If a subset of students is to be used in co-constructing a rubric, consideration must be given to the question: How will you will decide on who will be involved in the process of constructing rubrics?

The project relies on engaging motivated students. However, no matter how interested students are in the project, they often need frequent reminders of each session, including messages on the day before and/or on the day of the sessions.  We found a combination of emails and text messaging to be helpful in reminding students of session dates and times.

Determine prior to starting the project how you will manage the student input, whether students will work individually or in groups on various assessment criteria, and how you will ensure they bring their completed rubric sections to each session.  Our observations suggest that working in pairs or groups of three enables students to bounce ideas off each other. Also, the use of online shared documents was also useful in some cases.

Discipline variations

Although many of the processes used in the study were appropriate across disciplines, the decision to use rubrics for all assessment tasks in all disciplines is not recommended. For example, some participants in the study, especially those working in a science-related discipline, found that some assessment tasks that were more quantitative in nature did not suit or require the use of assessment rubrics.


Before beginning the rubric co-construction process, the lecturer needs to:

  1. Create a draft of the rubric or a part of the rubric which aligns with the learning outcomes of the course.
  2. Copy and collate the following information that is to be shared with students who are involved with co-construction: intended learning outcomes for the course; relevant government standards and quality guidelines (e.g., Australian Qualifications Framework, or AQF); relevant graduate attributes; information about effective rubric characteristics; and exemplar rubrics.
  3. Be prepared to answer questions about rubrics and how they are used.
  4. Be clear about the aspects of the rubric that can be and cannot be negotiated with students.

Institutional issues

Before beginning co-construction be sure to check that your processes and timing of the completion of the rubric are in line with institutional policies.

Allowing students to test their co-constructed rubrics before finalisation

It is recommended that some de-identified assignments of various levels from a previous year be provided to students for them to test whether their co-constructed rubric adequately discriminates between different levels of achievement.

Peer / Teacher review might be required

At the end of the rubric co-construction process, it is conceivable that some changes may still need to be made to the rubric for it to be useable and effective, especially to ensure it is aligned to institutional policies, course guidelines and governmental standards. It is important that students involved in the process of co-construction are informed that further changes might occur after the end of the co-construction phase so that they are not surprised if the final rubric looks different from when they last saw it.


Support for the production of this website has been provided by the Australian Government Department of Education and Training. The views expressed in this report do not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Government Department of Education and Training.  
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