Checklists and Rating Scales

If creating a rubric seems too daunting or like it’s involved for a simple assignment, then you may be in need of a checklist or a rating scale. Though some might classify these tools as types of rubrics, Brookhart (2013) insists they are not technically rubrics because they lack the detailed performance descriptions of a rubric.

Regardless, checklists and rating scales can be useful tools when it comes to assessment, particularly for shorter or formative assessments.



When it comes to assessment, a checklist is exactly what it sounds like: a list of criteria along with a simple designation of yes, the student did it or no, the student did not. These are useful in providing some guidelines about expectations for students and as a quick way of providing a grade for something that may not be a major grade or for which something that needs to be graded quickly.

Figure 7 shows an example of a checklist for our discussion board example assignment. Because there are no specific criteria and performance rating listed, it emphasizes completion rather than content. The “yes/no” column could also be shown using other terms, such as “complete/incomplete” or “satisfactory/unsatisfactory” or “present/missing.”

Figure 7 Checklist for discussion board response in English literature course

Rating Scales

A rating scale is a bit like a less detailed analytic rubric. Again, though useful for formative assessments, they can be tricky for more significant assignments because of the vague language. Figure 8 shows an example of a rating scale. Notice, it lists criteria with a simple checkbox to rate a students’ performance on a scale of excellent to poor. The danger, however, is that there are no specific statements about how “excellent” or “poor” are defined. Thus, this type of assessment tool does not offer the same sense of objectivity that an analytic rubric does.

Rating Scale Sample
Figure 8: Rating scale for discussion board post in English literature course