Rubrics workflow

An update to the Rubrics tool circa June 2018 changed rubric workflows in Brightspace.

Instructors use Rubrics to guide scoring related to the quality of learner's responses. Rubrics are also helpful to learners so that they know what is expected prior to submitting their work.

Rubric best practices in Brightspace

With changes introduced in version 10.8.2 (June 2018), D2L recommends the following best practices:


  • If you previously associated a copy of a rubric directly with a grade, and filled out (or copied) your assessment of the rubric in the Grades tool, you should follow this new workflow:
    • rubrics should only be associated with the activity (not the grade) and assessed in the activity (discussion, assignment, quiz). The rubric automatically displays in Gradebook
  • If you previously did not use rubrics in Discussions due to the inability to display rubric feedback to learners, you can now start using rubrics in Discussions. Learners can now see the completed rubric in Discussions, as well as in the Content tool, where a Discussion is included. If a discussion has an associated grade, learners can view it in Gradebook.
  • You should only associate a rubric with the activity being assessed. With this change, grade items that have rubrics directly associated with them can no longer be linked to activities. However, activities with associated rubrics can be linked to grade items.
  • Grade items that are considered independent and intended to grade offline or observational activities can continue to use rubrics. However, they cannot be associated with activities.

Note: There will be a slight impact to learners due to more places to view completed rubric feedback. Learners can now go to Gradebook to see any of their completed rubric feedback for assignments, discussions, and quizzes, or go to the corresponding tool (including Discussions) to see their completed rubric feedback.

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How rubrics display

Rubrics now display graded rubric feedback in Grades Area (aka Gradebook)

For a consistent and simplified user experience, learners can now view their graded rubric feedback in Gradebook for discussions, assignments, and quizzes.


Learners can also view their completed rubric (including the selected levels and instructor feedback) in the following tools:

  • Gradebook (new)
  • Discussions (new)
  • Assignments
  • Quizzes
  • Content (classic Content experience), where the activity is included (Assessment section)

For instructors, this change impacts how they use rubrics with activities. They can assess discussions, assignments or quizzes from the corresponding tool, and the completed rubric displays in its entirety in Gradebook (if the activity has a linked grade).

Grade items that are considered independent and intended to grade offline or observational activities can continue to use rubrics. However, they cannot be associated with activities.


D2L provided 1082 screenshot - shows the message that displays in a grade item stating that a rubric can't be associated to an online activity from the grades area

Figure: A note in the Grade Editing page indicating that while the grade item has a rubric, it cannot also be associated with an online activity

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Rubric visibility

Rubrics - Control rubric visibility for learners

The version 10.8.2 (June 2018) release introduced the ability to control rubric visibility for learners.

This is useful for preventing learners from using preview rubrics as answer keys for activities. For example, an instructor can now describe assessment expectations in assignment instructions, hiding the associated preview rubric. Once the assignment is graded, the instructor releases the graded rubric as part of the learner's assessment details.

Rubric visibility is controlled in two ways:

  • The default visibility of new rubrics at the org unit level is "Rubric is hidden until feedback published"
    • learners can see rubric feedback and the rubric definition on pages after the rubric is used
  • Instructors can set the visibility of individual rubrics.
    • Creating or editing a rubric includes the following new options: Rubric is always visible to learners, Rubric is hidden until feedback published, and Rubric is never visible to learners.

D2L provided 1082 screenshot - instructor visibility selections shown

    • Note: Instructors can change the visibility of individual rubrics at any time.

To indicate rubric visibility to instructors, rubrics that are hidden until feedback is published or rubrics that are never visible now display an indicator in the Rubrics section of the associated activity. Visible rubrics do not display an indicator.

D2L provided 1082 screenshot - shows the display in the activity that indicates status of rubric visibility

These changes create a slight impact to instructors due to new rubric visibility options and workflow changes for instructors that want to hide rubrics. For instructors that want to keep rubrics visible, there are no workflow changes.

Technical details:

  • The visibility status of a rubric can only be changed at the rubric level, not at the activity level. For example, you cannot change the visibility of a rubric from an assignment.
  • Visibility is a property of a rubric and not an individual assessment. Once rubric feedback is published to the learner, they can see the rubric feedback and rubric definition on any page where the rubric is used.
  • For assignments, an instructor assesses the rubric in the assignment assessment workflow. Upon publishing or updating the assessment, the rubric feedback is considered published.
  • For discussions, an instructor assesses the rubric in the assess topic workflow. Upon saving the assessment, the rubric feedback is considered published.
  • For quizzes, an instructor assesses the rubric in the grade quiz workflow. Upon saving the assessment, the rubric feedback is considered published.
  • For surveys, an instructor assesses the rubric in the survey assessment workflow (Completion Summary in the classic Content tool). Upon saving the assessment, the rubric feedback is considered published.

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Rubrics - Improvements to rubric feedback for learners

To provide learners with more detailed feedback on activities and apply a consistent look and feel to rubric feedback, the 10.8.2 release (June 2018) included the following improvements:

  • Rubric feedback now has a consistent appearance across tools in Brightspace Learning Environment, including responsive display on desktops and mobile devices. The grading criteria that a learner achieves in an activity is highlighted in the rubric. Also, the Overall Score row is removed and replaced by a Total row for the entire rubric.
  • Rubric feedback for assignments now appears at the top of the Assignment Feedback page.
  • Assignments now include detailed overall feedback, rubric feedback, and score in the Content tool.
    • Previously, assignments only included overall feedback and score in the Content tool and Assignment Feedback page.
  • The Discussions and Content tools now include overall feedback, detailed rubric feedback, and score. Feedback displays to learners as soon as instructors save rubric and overall feedback assessment. Previously, discussions only included score.
  • Feedback for quiz submissions is now viewed by clicking the new View Feedback link under the Feedback column. Previously, quiz submissions included a text bubble icon that linked to quiz feedback.

D2L provided 1082 screenshot - shows example of a rubric display for a learner

Figure: Graded rubric for an assignment showing achieved criteria, instructor feedback, and score

D2L provided 1082 screenshot - shows instructor written feedback display

Figure: A discussion showing instructor feedback, score, and link to the graded rubric

D2L provided 1082 screenshot - shows feedback link from a quiz list

Figure: The View Feedback link for quiz submissions

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CD 201909