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How do I add a rubric to an assignment?

How do I add a rubric to an assignment?

You can add a rubric to an assignment to help students understand expectations for the assignment and how you intend to score their submissions. Occasionally, rubrics are added to assignments when you have an outcome inside of the rubric that you would like to use for alignment purposes. In addition to assignments, rubrics can also be added to graded discussions and quizzes.

Rubrics can be added by finding an existing rubric in one of your courses, or by creating a new rubric.


  • You can only add a rubric to assignments that use the Online or On Paper submission types.
  • When you add a rubric to a moderated assignment, any associated outcome results display in the Learning Mastery Gradebook only after final grades are posted.

Open Assignments

Open Assignments

In Course Navigation, click the Assignments link.

Open Assignment

Click the name of the assignment.

Add Rubric

Add Rubric

Click the Add Rubric button.

Find a Rubric

Find a Rubric

To find an existing rubric, click the Find a Rubric link.

You can find rubrics that were created in previous assignments as well as rubrics created in other courses where you have an instructor role.

Select Rubric

Select Rubric

In the first column, select a course or account [1]. In the second column, locate and click the name of a rubric [2]. You can view the criteria and points in each rubric. To select a rubric for the assignment, scroll to the bottom of the rubric and click the Use This Rubric button [3].

Edit Rubric

Manage Rubric

To edit an unused rubric or to select rubric settings, click the Edit icon.

Note: When editing a rubric, you can remove associated outcome criteria. However, outcome criteria can only be edited from the Outcomes page.

Create New Rubric

Create New Rubric

If you can't find an existing rubric to use for the assignment, you can create a new rubric for your assignment. New rubrics are saved in your course for future use.

Select Rubric Settings

Once you have added a rubric, you can select several options for the rubric.

If you want to write free-form comments to students in SpeedGrader, select the I'll write free-form comments... checkbox [1]. If this option is selected, no ratings are used to assess the student and criterion values are assigned manually.

If you want to remove points from the rubric, select the Remove points from rubric checkbox [2]. If this option is selected, no points are associated with the rubric, but students can still be rated using the rubric criterion.

If you have the Learning Mastery Gradebook enabled but you don't want outcome results to be posted to the Learning Mastery Gradebook, select the Don't post Outcomes results to Learning Mastery Gradebook checkbox [3]. If this option is selected, students will be able to see rubric and outcome results in the Grades and submission details pages but results will not be posted to the Learning Mastery Gradebook.

If you want to use the rubric for grading in SpeedGrader, select the Use this rubric for assignment grading checkbox [4].

If you don't want students to see the score total for the rubric, select the Hide score total for assessment results checkbox [5]. Students can still see the point values for each criterion, but the total score will not be shown at the bottom of the rubric. This option is only available if the rubric is not used for grading.

Save Rubric

Save Rubric

Click the Update Rubric button.

Note: If you created a new rubric, the assignment will show the Create Rubric button.

Adjust Scoring Points

Adjust Scoring Points

If you select the option to use the rubric for grading, Canvas will compare the rubric score and Assignment points.

If the number of points in the rubric is different than the number of points in the Assignment, Canvas will generate a warning message notifying that the point values are not equal.

To update the number of points in the assignment, click the Change button [1]. Otherwise, click the Leave different button[2].

View Rubric

View Rubric

View the rubric for the assignment.

To edit the rubric, click the Edit icon [1]. To replace the rubric with an existing rubric, click the Search icon [2]. To delete the rubric from the assignment, click the Delete icon [3].  

Copy Rubric

Copy Rubric

If you try to edit a rubric that has been used in more than one assignment (assignment, graded discussion, or quiz), Canvas generates a warning message that the rubric can't be edited. This message means that the rubric can't be edited directly, but you can create a copy of the rubric.

To create a copy of the rubric, click the OK button. Canvas will create a copied version of the rubric. The edited version will automatically replace the previous rubric in the assignment. If you use the rubric for grading, the rubric will update for all students in SpeedGrader. You may want to re-review student submissions that may have already been graded with the original rubric.

The copied rubric will also be saved in the course rubrics list for future use.

Note: A rubric linked to multiple assignments will not be copied if the only change made is to use the rubric for assignment grading.


Is there a place in grades where a student can click on a rubric to see how their assignment was graded?

@LoriMurphyCole yes, students can view rubric details on the Grades page. You can learn more about what students see here:


- Nathan

Once I click on the assignment, which is a Google External tool, I do NOT see the add Rubric option.  I see Edit and SpeedGrader, along with the entire assignment - not the details shown in the image above.  I have added rubrics before, so I'm unsure why it is not working this time


I had the same problem.  I think it is because you can only add rubrics if it set up as an Online submission or On Paper submission, so if you are using the Google External tool for the submission, then it will not let you add a rubric for some reason.  At the top of this article it says "You can only add a rubric to assignments that use the Online or On Paper submission types."

Mr5 - There was a question from another user who SPECIFICALLY added a screenshot using the Google External Tool and the response linked to this solution.  I'm increasingly frustrated by the limitations of this tool.  It worked better in the spring - when I use a Google slide this year, it is not filling the entire space.  

Hi @shannononeill , 

There is a workaround for adding a rubric to an external tool assignment. If you first create the assignment as an Online or On Paper submission type, you can add a rubric to the assignment. Once the assignment's created and a rubric is attached, you can edit the assignment and change the submission type to External Tool and attach your google assignment. 

If an external tool isn't displaying large enough in the assignment, you can check out this information about adjusting iFrame sizes in the assignments details page using the HTML view. 

Hopefully this helps! Please let my teammates and I know if we can help with anything else. 



CanvasDocTeam - Hopefully I can remember to use your workaround - thank you!  I am not sure where to find the right spot to change the frame size since it's inserted as an external tool and I don't actually SEE the item in edit mode.  This is on a laptop, but you get the idea how small it is - I can't imagine the kids who are using a phone!. 

As a workaround, I had kids click the present button so they could see it, then go to their Google Slides to type their answer... then back to Canvas to submit.  That's a LOT of clicks for 6th graders just learning Canvas. 


Hello!  I've created a rubric, but the set of "options" below the rubric do not appear.  At the bottom of the rubric, even when I click edit, there is nothing below "+ criterion" and "find outcome".  How do I get access to those options so that I can use the rubric for grading?  Thanks!

Hi @BarbBedwell,

Just curious, are you accessing this rubric from the assignment or is this when you add the rubric from the Rubrics page? In order to see these options, you will need to edit the rubric from the assignment where you have added it.


@BarbBedwell  - as stated by @CanvasDocTeam  you can't add a rubric to an assignment that uses the External tool AFTER you've made the assignment.  You have to "trick" the system by first selecting Online or Paper type, add the rubric, save the assignment... then go back and change to External tool to get the rubric to "connect."

Hello!  Thank you @CanvasDocTeam and @shannononeill for your replies.  I've been playing around with this this morning to see if I could get more detail.  My assignment is using an online submission with "file upload" submission type (I've also tried plain text box submission).  I am not using an external tool.  I create the assignment and click save, then I click edit in order to add the rubric.  I click on "+ rubric".  The generic "some rubric" appears - and this window HAS the click boxes to add free-form comments, remove points, etc.  When I click on "Find a Rubric" to locate a rubric I've already created, and add that rubric to the assignment, those click-boxes are not present.

When I create a rubric on the Course Rubrics page, I never see the click boxes - but this makes sense from what Cody from @CanvasDocTeam stated above.

So, it seems that when I create a new rubric within an assignment it works.  When I try to add a pre-made rubric to an assignment, it doesn't work (no clickboxes)  I also tried going back and clicking on "edit rubric" after I had created everything and it gave me this message:  "You can't edit this rubric, either because you don't have permission or it's being used in more than one place. Any changes you make will result in a new rubric based on the old rubric. Continue anyway?" 

Do I really need to: 1) create an assignment, click save; 2) click on edit to add the rubric; 3) edit the rubric for each assignment?  This seems like an extremely awkward workflow.  Am I missing something?  Thanks for your help!


I'm wondering about this comment, "When I click on "Find a Rubric" to locate a rubric I've already created, and add that rubric to the assignment, those click-boxes are not present." Are the checkboxes not present once you have clicked the Edit icon for the rubric? (As shown in the Edit Rubric step of this lesson)



Hi Cody @CanvasDocTeam :  Yes those click boxes are present after I click the edit icon and dismiss the error message.  IMHO this is a very tedious workflow - it feels like I'm missing something if I have to do this process every time I create an assignment.  It's counterintuitive as well, since I don't really want to edit the rubric - I want it to be used the same every time.  There is no way to create default settings?  (Obviously, I'm new to Canvas.  Thanks for your patience.)

No problem at all, @BarbBedwell.

These settings are specific to how the rubric is used for that assignment. So yes you have to edit the rubric for each assignment to determine how how want it to be used. There is no way to select what these settings are for all rubrics, at least not that I am remembering on a Friday. 🙂


Thanks, Cody @CanvasDocTeam !  I appreciate your help!  I'm off to add and edit rubrics - school starts Monday!

Best of luck, @BarbBedwell! Nice chatting with you today!


Hi @CanvasDocTeam 

Wondering if there is a way to add a rubric to an assignment, and then have a student self-assess on the rubric when they turn it in? Reflective practice is a big part of how we evaluate students so this feature is needed!

Hi @jltwilkinson,

It's not currently possible to have students assess themselves using rubrics in Canvas. We do, however, have an existing feature idea conversation for this in the Ideas space (Create a student-accessible rubric for self-assessments). If you'd like to add your voice to that idea, you can kudo it and/or comment on the idea. 


@CanvasDocTeam  I hope a future version of Canvas will streamline the whole rubric issue.  Freeform Comments and Ratings behave so differently but the features need to be combined or duplicated so they behave consistently.

Freeform - I like that comments can be reused, but dislike having to enter the score in the rubric AND above the student reply box.  Also, the rubric Icon won’t show up for students in their “Grade” view unless you include the scores in the boxes near the comments section and it won’t calculate the score unless you include the scores above the student reply boxes.  

Ratings - I like that the points total as you enter them, but dislike that the comments can't be reused.

Thanks, @shannononeill! I hope everything is going well. If you would like to share this idea for potential development down the road, please visit the Idea Conversations page, where you can add ideas or rate existing ideas. Since we just handle documentation and remove comments periodically, that space is the best spot to ensure long-term visibility for your idea.


Can I add more than one rubric to an assignment?

Another point of confusion, is I do not perceive a difference between a learning outcome and a rubric. I can assign each of them to an assignment and functionally they seem the same.

Hi @Dr_Mark,

To answer your first question, only one rubric can be added to each assignment.

For your second question, rubrics and outcomes are certainly connected quite closely and do work similarly. While I haven't taught any classes myself, I view outcomes as something that can be part of a rubric. For example, if you look at the View Rubric step of this lesson, there are three rubric criterion and one outcome that are part of the larger rubric.


@CanvasDocTeam  It was so disappointing to use Freeform comments because they don't show up when the students view the rubric in their Grade link!  These are from Student View & the bottom used Freeform...  It was nice to reuse the comments, but it is not worth it if the students can't actually see the feedback.  Did I do something wrong?  

Rubric Dif.png


I don't think you did anything wrong. (Although the screenshots seem to display two different rubrics so I'm not totally sure.) My best guess is that this might be a limitation of the Test Student. I just tested this in a course and was able to see freeform comments as a student from the Grades page


As it's been mentioned several times...


The teacher should not have to ONLY be able to add a rubric or edit features of the rubric (like "use rubric for assignment grading" before loading in an external tool.  Teachers should be able to 

(a) add a rubric AFTER an assignment has been created.

(b) edit the rubric AFTER an assignment has been created.

(c) edit options of the rubric (like "use for assignment grading) AFTER an assignment has been created.


Right now, if the assignment is an external tool, NONE of these are available to the teacher.  CANVAS PROGRAMMERS (@CanvasDocTeam) -- we need your help to make this better and more user-friendly to the teachers!! They shouldn't have to know everything about the grading of an assignment before they even make the assignment exist.

Hi @rmariucci,

Thanks for providing your feedback! I'm not a developer, so I can't speak to the Product team's ability or prioritization of changing how/when rubrics are added to external tool assignments. However, I do know we have a feature idea that may fit what you're hoping to see: LTI External Tools - Ability to Add Rubric. If you'd like to support that idea, you can add your voice to the idea by kudoing and/or commenting on it. 



I am trying to use your workaround since my assignment is an External Tool (making a VoiceThread). I created the assignment as an online submission, inserted the rubric I wanted to use, saved the assignment, then went back in and edited the assignment to change it to an External Tool submission. Now I don't see the rubric anywhere. Please help.

Alternately, I would be willing to create a separate page that could come after the assignment in the module that contains or links to the rubric, but I don't see how to do that either.

Hi @larzwar,

You should be able to see that rubric if you open the assignment in SpeedGrader. Student will be able to see it from the Grades page (once a grade has been applied) or their Submission Details page.


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