[Rubrics] Adapt Canvas Rubrics to Conventional Rubric Design

This idea suggests additional improvements to Canvas rubrics so they conform with conventional rubric design. Although the updated rubric features were improved from the original Canvas release, some fine tuning is still needed, namely, how the grading grid is displayed and adding descriptions in the Rating header. Scroll down to the current/proposed illustrations posted below for a quick view of this idea.


As an Instructional Designer for a large school district in Florida, I create rubrics alongside the assignments we create and curate — much of the time I'm working to convert the pedagogical content given to our team by teachers. Most of the rubrics I receive contain brief descriptions in the header row of the scoring column. Canvas doesn't provide that space in its rubrics.


As a work-around, I attempted to create a rating header containing these brief descriptions. Each had a zero-point score. To my surprise, Canvas then sorted the rating titles alphabetically resulting in misaligned ratings for the remaining body of the rubric. Just couldn't accomplish a full digital interactive copy of the rubrics I'd been provided.


Canvas rubrics would be so much easier to use if they followed a format standard in the teaching profession. The first digital rubrics were created with spreadsheets and then later with HTML tables, which mirrored what teachers had done with paper and ruler for decades. Following this standard format convention would be a fantastic improvement for Canvas over what is now available.


Here's the very best workaround I could produce using the Canvas rubric construction space.

  • Notice that the Rating Descriptions are ordered by placing alphabetical sorters in front of the rating labels.
  • Also, notice that what should be displayed as a evenly plotted grid has varying widths of columns for each criterion.
  • Finally, notice that Canvas requires a Rating Title for each rating of each criterion, resulting an even more text-heavy rubric with redundant text.


Current Canvas Rubric Format

Here is the proposed Canvas rubric improvement.

Proposed Canvas Rubric Format

  • The improved rubric follows generally accepted format, making it more user friendly and more usable.
  • The proposed rubric allows for varying point ratings, but points and rating labels would not be required.
  • This rubric improvement idea also doesn't require point values in the Ratings Header, but presented as an option would go a long way to simplifying the look of the rubric by avoiding repetitious and redundant information.


This idea may not cover all aspects of optimal rubric creation and usage, but I strived to included the most used aspects that are currently missing (without awkward workarounds). I also groomed this idea to be easily implemented by Canvas s/w engineers. If this improved rubric would be useful to you as a teacher, and easy to implement as an engineer, please vote it UP.

Added to Theme

Improved rubric creation and usability Theme Status: Identified

Community Member

While grading using a rubric, we don't have the capacity to select multiple sections whin the raw while grading.

For example, the rubric contains a raw for organization, in the raw, we have 6 steps. The rubric can be created as a number of steps complete rather than content completed. Instead of saying 5/6 steps complete out of 20 points (16.65 points), I would like to select multiple sections with descriptions of the section such as "Smooth transition to the body" = 3.33 points + "Includes an introduction" = 3.33, etc. and a total of 20 for the raw.


Community Member

This feature is so necessary. It is hard for students to read the current rubric layout. It is visually unappealing. This feature becoming an option would be a game changer.

People have been asking for this since at least 2018 (I even saw a past post in 2016?) so it's hard to understand why this is still up for discussion. 

Community Member

Yes, we definitely need the rubric display to be improved. A disjointed display makes the task of reading and understanding the rubric more difficult, leading to a poorer student experience. Please change the display so that cell widths are consistent, regardless of textual content.

Community Team
Community Team
Status changed to: New
Community Team
Community Team
Status changed to: Added to Theme