^ To Top
Teaching in Engineering Education

Rubrics for Engineering Education

Please cite as follows: Chan, CKY (2015). "Rubrics for Engineering Education", Engineering Education Enhancement and Research Asia (E3R Asia).

Benefits and Drawbacks of Holistic Rubrics and Analytic Rubrics

In developing and using both analytic and holistic rubrics, it is important to realize their advantages and disadvantages especially in designing the rubrics so that the designed rubrics serve the intended purpose. Therefore the following section will explore some of the benefits and drawbacks of the two rubrics respectively.

Benefits of Holistic Rubrics

  1. Holistic rubrics are normally written generically and can be used with many tasks.
  2. The use of holistic rubrics saves time as it minimizes the number of decisions required for the teacher to make.
  3. Trained teachers have the tendency to apply them consistently, which results in more reliable measurement.
  4. It can be easily used to assess the changes in students' learning and development over time and across a curriculum.

Drawbacks of Holistic Rubrics

  1. The holistic rubrics cannot provide the teacher and the student specific feedback about the strengths and weaknesses of the students' performance.
  2. The following may suggest that the rubrics is developed poorly when the performances meet the criteria in two or more categories, thus selecting the one with the best description would be tough.
  3. Criteria within the rubrics cannot be differentially weighted.

Benefits of Analytic Rubrics

  1. Analytic rubrics can provide the teacher and the student specific feedback about the strengths and weaknesses of the students' performance (unlike holistic rubrics).
  2. The dimensions within the analytic rubrics can be weighted to reflect relative importance.
  3. When the same rubrics' categories are used repeatedly, the analytic rubrics can show progress over time in some or all dimensions.
  4. More useful for grade moderation.

Drawbacks of Analytic Rubrics

  1. Compared to holistic rubrics, creating and using analytic rubrics are less time efficient.
  2. Increased possibility of disagreement among evaluators. Harder to achieve "intra-rater reliability" and "inter-rater reliability" on all of the dimensions within the analytic rubrics compared to a single score yielded by holistic rubrics.