A rubric is an assessment tool for communicating grading criteria and assignment expectations. Rubrics are typically comprised of rows and columns. Rows are used to define the various criteria being used to assess an assignment. Columns are used to define levels of performance for each criterion. 

Rubrics can be set up as non-scoring rubrics, which allows for assessment-based and outcome-based grading without points. 


  • You can add rubrics to assignments, quizzes, and graded discussions. 
  • Be sure to enter criteria in the proper order, as they cannot be reordered after they are added to a rubric. 
  • The Rubrics button in Course Navigation is only meant for instructors and is not available for students. Students will only see rubrics in Assignments, Discussions, and Quizzes to which they have been attached. 
  • Rubrics have to be set up in a special way when working with 3rd Party Tools (such as VoiceThread). See “How to Use” > “Third-Party Tools and Rubrics” for more information. 

How to UseResources

Review this video on how to configure a rubric and deploy it with your assessments. 

Grading with Rubrics 

Once you associate the rubric with an assessment, make sure to select “Use this rubric for assignment grading” if you want to calculate the grade when using the rubric.

Third-Party Tools and Rubrics 

An important note about the use of rubrics associated with external (third-party) tools such as VoiceThread is that you must enable the tool first, then associate the rubric. The workflow for adding a rubric to an External Tool assignment is to create the assignment as a regular online submission type, save it, add the rubric, and then change the submission type to External Tool. 

Canvas updated Rubrics to allow the Add Rubric button after creating an external tool assignment.

Also note that, unlike a regular Canvas assignment, the rubric may not appear below the assignment when using a third-party tool. Instead, the rubric can be viewed by the faculty or student in the Gradebook, or by the faculty when using SpeedGrader.

Best Practices 

Rubrics are available to students before they submit their assignment (and after), so the student can see exactly what is expected of them and where they may need extra guidance.