Comprehensive PBL Rubric

Want to assess both content mastery and design thinking/process skills during project based learning? Try the comprehensive PBL rubric!
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About This Strategy

The Comprehensive PBL Rubric allows teachers to assess both content skills and process/design thinking skills throughout the implementation of project-based learning. The rubric is used to assess students individually on their mastery of content-specific aspects of the project, as well as their individual contributions to the project through process skills (i.e. collaboration, innovation, problem solving, time management, equitable contributions, etc.). This rubric can be used in PBLs at any grade level and for any content area.

Implementation Steps

30-60 minutes
  1. Access the Comprehensive PBL Rubric Template in the Resources section below to begin creating your rubric. Consider completing the Building the Driving Question Template included in the Resources section below and can be viewed as a strategy in the BetterLesson Lab first to plan the PBL and identify both learning targets and process skills the PBL will address.

  2. Work through the template, filling out each section in the table. The template has tips and specific instructions for each section. See the exemplars in the resources section for support.

  3. Throughout the PBL, use the rubric to assess student engagement, mastery, and completion of the PBL. Remember that the rubric is not a group assessment but is meant to assess students' individual contributions.

Criteria Rubric Checklist

Cheryl Belknap
BetterLesson Instructional Coach

Criteria provide greater clarity than rubrics, as the criteria list indicates specifically what the work expectation is for a product/project. Like rubrics, the criteria are grouped by type. Usually the criteria list includes content (know and do) and vocabulary expectations. To this are added the project and product expectations. The criteria is then formatted so that it can be used as a self and peer checklist so students can track the completion of all expectations, and can support each other by reviewing each other's work to check if the work meets the named expectations. When using it with peer feedback, it is useful to provide students with sentence stems if they are not accustomed to giving one another constructive feedback. And finally, the list can be used, as rubrics are used, to indicate whether the submitted final product met expectations. Also, like a rubric, the "criteria/rubric/checklist" can indicate how many possible points can be earned in each section. 

Pairing the use of a criteria/rubric/checklist with exemplars ups the rigor and clarity of expectations. Students, guided by prompts and questions, "discover" the work product/project expectations by examining the exemplar. See the Criteria Rubric Checklist Template below for more support. 

Tech Tools

Google Docs

  • Google Docs is an online word processor (part of Google Apps) that allows you store, create and edit documents collaboratively in a web browser.
  • Google Docs can allow you to create individual rubrics for each student and track/document their progress throughout the PBL.