Ultra Course - Grading Rubrics

A rubric is a scoring tool that helps evaluate and clearly defines the various aspects and criteria expected in a graded assignment. 

Rubrics are incredibly versatile and come in handy for assessing a wide range of tasks, such as research papers, group projects, portfolios, or presentations. This page serves to provide information regarding creating rubrics in the Ultra gradebook, associating rubrics to specific assignments, and grading student submissions with the associated rubric. 


Creating a Rubric in Ultra

To create a rubric in your Ultra course:

  1. Navigate to the Gradebook and open the gradebook settings by clicking the settings iconsettingsin the upper right. The settings menu will appear on the right hand side of your screen.
  2. Scroll down to the "Course Rubrics" section.
  3. Click on the black "Create" button. (For more information on the "Generate" button,   see our Answers page on Blackboard's AI Design Assistant.)


Screenshot of a list of rubrics in the Gradebook settings. A pink box is highlighting a black button that says Create at the top of the section and a pink arrow points to the button.


Once the "Create" button is selected, a new page will open providing a rubric template.

A default title will be given to the rubric based on the date created. Click the title to change it.

There are several options for "Rubric Type," including Percentage, Percentage Range, Points, and Points Range. Click the drop down menu and select the one that best suits your needs.



A screenshot of the rubric template page with a rectangle spotlighting the options to change the Rubric Type, which is a drop down menu located below the rubric title.

Editing the Rubric Template


The default template that is created by the Blackboard system contains four columns (levels of performance)  and four rows (criteria). The template will also provide default credit values (in the form of percentages or points, based on the Rubric Type) in each cell of the rubric. All components can be edited in the same way:

  1. Hover your mouse over the section of the rubric you wish to edit.
  2. Click the edit iconedit iconthat appears in the right hand corner of the cell.


When you hover over any of the criteria/performance headings, you will notice that a delete icondeleteappears next to the edit icon. Click this if you wish to delete a row or column provided by the template.

Conversely, if you wish to add a row or column to the rubric, hover your mouse in between two rows/columns until you see a purple + icon appear. Click the + icon to add another row/column in that place.


The "Align with goals" feature is not currently supported by Syracuse University.


Once you have completed all edits of the rubric, click the "Save" button located at the bottom right hand corner of the page.

A GIF that shows a cursor navigating around a rubric template, hovering over sections of the rubric which displays edit and delete icons. The cursor selects the edit icon and continues to edit text fields on the rubric. The cursor also hovers between between two columns where a purple add icon appears. The cursor clicks the add icon which adds another column to the rubric.


Adding a Rubric to Assignments/Tests

In order to connect a rubric to a grade item:

  1. Create or open the existing content item you wish to add a rubric to
  2. Open the Assignment Settingssettings
  3. Scroll down to the "Additional Tools" section
  4. Click the link "Add grading rubric."
  5. This will show you the option to "Create" a grading rubric or choose from rubrics previously created and saved in your course.
  6. To select an existing grading rubric, click the "Add" link to the right of the desired rubric.
  7. Once you "Add" the rubric, the screen will return to the Assignment Settings where you need to click the black "Save" button in order to complete the rubric association.


A screenshot of the Additional Tools section of Assignment Settings. A pink arrow is circled around the option to Add grading rubirc.



A screenshot of the Add Grading Rubric menu within the Assignment Settings. An existing rubric is shown at the bottom of the settings with a pink circle around the Add link and a pink arrow pointing to the link.


System errors will occur in populating the Gradebook with a student's final grade if the course rubric's possible points misalign with the Assignment Settings maximum point values. In order to avoid this issue, be sure to select the option to "Use rubric's possible points" when the option is available. This will automatically align the Assignment Settings maximum possible points to the rubric's possible points.


A screenshot of a rubric that is listed in the Gradebook settings. A rectangle spotlights an checkbox option beneath the name of the rubric that reads Use rubrics possible points. A pink arrow is pointing to the checkbox next to the option to indicate clicking and selecting the option.


Grading Student Submissions with Rubrics

When grading with the rubric, you will first need to open the student's assignment in the submission view page of the Gradebook. If you need help on accessing student submissions, see our Answers page on Grading Student Submissions.


Once viewing the student submission:

  1. Click the expand buttonexpandto open the side panel where you can provide feedback to the student.
  2. Locate the grading criteria, displayed below the text field for Overall Feedback.
  3. Expand a criterion by clicking the gray down arrow located to the right of the criterion title.
  4. Select the appropriate level of performance. 
  5. Continue in this manner for each criterion category.


When grading with a rubric, Instructors can still leave overall comment feedback in the text field at the top of the feedback panel. However, if you wish to leave feedback regarding a specific piece of the rubric criteria, you can provide feedback on an individual criterion by selecting the comment iconcomment bubblelocated next to the expansion arrow of the criterion row.

A GIF showing the student submission view in an Instructor's course. The cursor clicks a gray arrow on the right side of the screen which expands a sidebar menu which contains rubric criteria. The cursor selects black arrows that expand each of the criteria pieces and selects performance levels. The cursor then selects a comment bubble located next to one of the criterion which shows the feedback written for that particular part of the rubric.

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