General Scoring Rubric For Open-Ended Questions

Here is an example rubric, in this case a general scoring rubric for open-ended questions…

Sort papers first into three stacks:

  • good responses (5 or 6 points),
  • adequate responses (3 or 4 points), and
  • inadequate responses (1 or 2 points).

Each of those three stacks then can be re-sorted into 2 stacks…

  • Good Responses:
  • * Exemplary=6 points
    Gives a complete response with a clear, coherent, unambiguous, and elegant explanation; includes a clear and simplified diagram; communicates effectively to the identified audience. shows understanding of the open-ended problem’s..ideas and processes; identifies all the important elements of the problem; may include examples and counterexamples; provides strong supporting arguments.
  • * Competent=5 points
    Gives a fairly complete response with reasonably clear explanations; may include an appropriate diagram; communicates effectively to the identified audience; shows understanding of the problem’s..ideas and processes; identifies the most important elements of the problem; presents solid supporting arguments.
  • Adequate Responses:
  • * Satisfaction=4 but minor flaws
    Completes the problem satisfactorily but the explanation may be muddled; argumentation may be incomplete; diagram may be inapropriate or unclear; understands the underlying…ideas and uses them effectively.
  • * Nearly satisfactory=3 but serious flaws
    Begins the problem apropriately but may fail to complete or may omit significant parts of the problem; may fail to show full understanding of ideas and processes; may make major computational errors; may misuse or fail to use correct terms; response may reflect an inappropriate strategy for solving the problem.
  • Inadequate Responses:
  • * Begins but fails to complete problem=2
    Explanation is not understandable; diagram may be unclear; shows no understanding of the problem situation; may make major computational errors;
  • * Unable to begin effectively=1
    Words do not reflect the problem; drawings misrepresent the problem situation copies parts of the problem but without attempting a solution; fails to indicate which information is appropriate to problem.
  • * No attempt=0.

[Originally published in
Assessment of Authentic Performance in School Mathematics (p. 159)
edited by Richard Lesh and Susan J. Lamon, 1992
ISBN 0-87168-5