How to Make a Rubric for Differentiation

An invaluable tool for structuring assignments and assessing students

A teacher showing a tablet to a young girl with Down Syndrome

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Rubrics are "rules" or a way to explicitly lay out expectations for an assignment, and the means to evaluate or grade an assignment using a point system.

Rubrics work very well for differentiated instruction, as you can establish different levels of performance for general education students and for children receiving special education services.

As you start making your rubric, think about the things you need to know to assess a student's performance on a project/paper/group effort. You need to create four or more categories to evaluate and then establish the criteria for each score.

You can format your rubric as a questionnaire or as a chart. Be sure it is clearly written, as you want to give it to your students and review it as you introduce the assignment.

When you are done, you can tailor your use of the information for the following:

  1. IEP data collection, especially for writing.
  2. Your grading/reporting format: i.e., 18 of 20 points is 90% or an A.
  3. To report to parents or students.

A Simple Writing Rubric

The numbers suggested are good for 2nd or 3rd-grade assignments. Adjust for the age and ability of your group.

Effort: Does the student write several sentences on the topic?

  • 4 points: Student writes 5 or more sentences about the topic.
  • 3 points: Student writes 4 sentences about the topic.
  • 2 points: Student writes 3 sentences about the topic.
  • 1 point: Student writes 1 or 2 sentences about the topic.

Content: Does the student share enough information to make the writing selection interesting?

  • 4 points: Student shares 4 or more facts about the subject
  • 3 points: Student shares 3 facts about the subject
  • 2 points: Student shares 2 facts about the subject
  • 1 point: Student shares at least one fact about the subject.

Conventions: Does the student use correct punctuation and capitalization?

  • 4 points: Student begins all sentences with capitals, capitalizes proper nouns, no run on sentences and correct punctuation, including one question mark.
  • 3 points: Student begins all sentences with capitals, one or fewer run-on sentences, 2 or fewer errors in punctuation.
  • 2 points: Student begins sentences with capitals, ends with punctuation, 2 or fewer run-on sentences, 3 or fewer errors in punctuation.
  • 1 point: Student uses capital letters appropriately at least once, ends with punctuation.

This rubric needs at least 2 more categories—it is easiest to score them with a possible 20 points. Consider "Style," "Organization" or "Focus."

Rubrics in Table Form

A table is a great way to clearly organize and present a rubric. Microsoft Word provides an easy table tool to lay out a rubric. For an example of a table rubric, please see a table rubric for a report on animals.

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Your Citation
Webster, Jerry. "How to Make a Rubric for Differentiation." ThoughtCo, Aug. 28, 2020, Webster, Jerry. (2020, August 28). How to Make a Rubric for Differentiation. Retrieved from Webster, Jerry. "How to Make a Rubric for Differentiation." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 22, 2023).