Improved rubric creation and usability

Theme Overview

Rubrics are a powerful tool for helping students understand expectations and better ensure that scoring is accurate, unbiased, and consistent. Improving the creation workflow and usability will save instructors time and enhance student outcomes.

What value could this provide to users?

  • Provide additional editing capabilities that save the instructor time in creating and updating rubrics.
  • Simplify the management and workflow for connecting and disconnecting from artifacts.
  • Improved interface, default settings, and formatting options.
  • Added flexibility in viewing preferences.
  • Export capabilities
Why was this theme chosen to open for voting?

April 2023 • Rubrics are a widely used powerful assessment tool. We’ve heard feedback from our Community and customers directly that by Improving the current experience, we can make our instructors’ and students’ lives easier.

Why was this theme chosen for prioritization?

June 2023Rubrics are a powerful assessment tool and are used by many of our users. The UI/UX improvements to rubrics come up frequently on customer calls, and this was the top-voted theme.

Referenced Ideas (22)

Status changed to: Open for Voting
Note from Instructure

April 2023 • This theme was chosen to Open for Voting. 

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Community Participant

Of the many great ideas attached to this theme, auto-saving an assignment rubric and being able to import a rubric from a csv (or other formats) would be most needed/welcome at our institution.  We use rubrics quite a bit and these features would save a lot of headaches and wasted time recreating.

Community Explorer


Rubrics are something we use a lot, but in the current format find them a bit unworkable. The ability to format the rubric would be great ( maybe a RCE) the ability to put in check boxes and similiar objects would enhance their usability


Community Member

The current format of Rubric is very rigid and limiting, it should have some form of Editor embedded into it. The editing option would let the designer/assessor to customise the Rubric to suit for their course (course where there is multiple observation for a single task). 

Community Explorer

It would save a lot of time and allow departments to share the same rubric if it could be imported. 

Community Member

It would be terrific to be able to edit Rubric and have added options...i.e. tick boxes...

Community Explorer

I would really like to import a rubric. 

Community Member

It would be great if the Rubrics were more accessible.  Right now users are unable to use the immersive view to enhance the text for things such as font size which has been very limiting for those with visual impairment.  An extra step of adding the rubric into word, then converting to PDF and attaching to a discussion is what we are having to do to make accommodations which can be very time consuming. 

Community Explorer

Based on a discussion about inclusive teaching today in a workshop, one of our instructors asked about the overall rubric accessibility and needing to provide alternate versions of the rubrics in another program and then attaching them to an assignment or discussion so that they are accessible. While I'd love to see other improvements to rubrics made based on the suggestions others have already discussed (especially the ability to edit and customize rubrics more effectively, and add/remove them from Assignments without deleting them), rubric accessibility is something I haven't seen much discussion of and would love to see implemented.

Community Coach
Community Coach

I agree with everyone that has mentioned the need for the ability to import rubrics from a CSV file.  @James has created an awesome user script that provides this functionality and it would be nice to see something similar created as a native feature in Canvas.  It would also be nice if when this feature was made that there would be an export option for rubrics that would match the format required for importing so it could be easy to build new rubrics based on existing ones.

I like the idea of checkboxes/tick boxes that @AndrewDwyer  and @Di-Brockett  have suggested, but at least being able to make properly formatted bulleted lists would be a nice improvement.

@cmunoz79 and @mmarty I support your suggestions to prioritize making sure the rubrics are in an accessible format within Canvas and the instructor doesn't need to do any extra work to make it accessible for students.

Community Member

Agree with all comments above. Need to have rubrics that are flexible and editable in regard to rich content formatting (RCE) and marking.

To allow text as well as a checklist option for each criteria, would be appealing to use for more practical observations, especially within vocational education. Chat to VET users to see what our needs are. 

Would also be great to have an option to view many individual rubrics at once/a class, would avoid the need to jump in and out of students assignments and complete marking/observations in one space (teachers select who they would like to observe), then all those rubrics appear for the teacher to mark with ease, much more efficient and less time consuming for teachers.

Also great to be able to move rows of rubric around, up and or down. With also the ability to group criteria.

Many thanks.


Community Participant

Rubrics absolutely need improvement, especially in rich content formatting and easier editing.  Anything to improve accessibility is also important.

Community Participant

I'm looking forward to seeing some functionality improvements for rubrics.

Right now it is very hard to edit an exisiting rubric and usually we organise our thoughts in a word document before creating a rubic to avoid extra headache.

Our institution would also appreciate having opportunity in changing some of the disply of the rubrics and the results. For example, the word "assessor" in our profession has a very specific meaning (and requires a certification to have the role of an assessor) so it would be nice to have some different options in that regard.

Community Member

In addition to increased flexibility with rubric formatting and an option to auto-save rubric inputs in speedgrader, it would also be beyond fantastic to have the option for anonymous rubric marking:


Currently annotations and grading can be anonymous - but not rubrics. Anonymous marking is critical for a number of our core summative assessment tasks. This is currently forcing us into a less-than-ideal (ie. very time-intensive) workaround: pasting rubrics into word docs - docs which the students are then required to use for submission - and then requiring teachers to use area annotations to assess/highlight rubrics anonymously.

Status changed to: Post Voting Review

Status changed to: Post Voting Review

Community Participant

Still Need to Add More than 1 Rubric to Assignment!

I am happy to see that the Rubrics theme was prioritized! There is a lot of room for improvement of this very important feature. I'd like to know why some rubric-related ideas were not added to the theme. In particular, there is one idea about "Add Multiple Rubrics to One Assignmet":

This idea had a ton of discussion and enthusiasm. If there is something unusually difficult about the process of adding more than one rubric, the general problem should still be explored. There are many instructors who use Rubrics for 2 (or more!) different reasons: to evaluate an assignment for grading (using criteria that are usually specific to the course/assignment) AND to assess whether program-level standards are being met. The way these 2 different types of criteria are used is often totally different - we should be able to have them in 2 different rubrics.

If this is really not possible, perhaps there should be a different way to associate Outcomes with assignments that is separate from Rubrics. This possible solution was briefly mentioned in one of the ideas that *was* included here: 

I look forward to seeing the progress here!

Community Coach
Community Coach

Is there a plan for which of these ideas will be focused on? I know that that a couple other themes have identified general focuses for the work. I am not sure how you will choose which of these 15 ideas to focus on, but I would list the following as some of the most important at Cornell.

- [Rubrics] Transferring Rubrics from course to course without losing already saved comments

[Rubrics] Copy saved free-form rubric comments between course sections

[Rubrics] Comments Library - access in Rubric comments

[Rubrics] Allow Importing of Rubrics from csv Format

[Rubrics] Export aggregate rubric scores to identify strengths and weaknesses of class as a whole (which is under Facilitate timely feedback for students for some reason)

[Assignments] Download Assignment Comments and Completed Rubrics (which is under Improve Download and Printing Options for Graded Work, but seems to relate to the one above)

Community Member

It would be great if rubrics had item analysis for their grading criteria, similar to the item analysis for Quizzes. This would really help identify strengths and weakness for reteaching or further instruction.


Even a way to export rubric grades with the separate criteria scores would help. 

Community Participant

I often remove points from rubrics, but when I copy a rubric or transfer it to a new course, it automatically adds the points back in.  It would be good if Canvas kept the rubric the same - without points added. Sometimes I forget to tick the 'remove points button' when copying or reusing rubrics and this presents a problem for me later.

Community Explorer

Agree with this - the ability to include checkbox criteria (Satisfactory / Not Satisfactory) with written feedback in the same rubric as a first point would be a game changer for VET users. This would allow our assessors to collect the required data while assessing rather than collecting this elsewhere and uploading it. Adding auto-generated items such as the student and assessor user names, and the date the rubric was completed would also add a further layer for VET users, and would remove the need to supplement the LMS with other programs or systems to manually collect this data and check for human error. To take it a step further, if the assessor had the option to digitally sign and the rubric data could be downloaded, Canvas could potentially meet evidence requirements for VET users. With the current setup, our RTO uses rubrics to trigger a result in VETtrak, but cannot rely on it to collect the data required for reporting.

These comments are for questions and general discussion. Feedback and detailed discussion will take place after an idea is prioritized.