Building KU's Teaching and Learning Community

2-Minute Mentor: Designing Assignments

Designing and grading assignments

  • Where should I start when I’m designing assignments?
  • How can I grade students fairly and efficiently?
  • What is a rubric, and what’s involved with developing one?

Click below to watch CTE’s 2-Minute Mentor video on this topic:

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Designing & Grading Assignments video transcript (doc)

Assignment design

Follow these three guidelines for effective assignment design:


Align assignments
with course goals

What do you want students to be able to do by the end of the course?

Assignments help students practice and develop those skills.


What are the assignment objectives, requirements, tips for successful completion, evaluation criteria?

Create written assignment sheets that describe this information.

Show students

What can students learn from seeing student work from previous semesters, or from other models of what you’re expecting?

If you don’t have examples of student work, you can start collecting them. CTE has a consent form you can use for this purpose. It is available here as an editable Word document and as a PDF.


Creating rubrics

Grading rubrics are very useful for clarifying performance expectations, evaluating student work, and grading efficiently and consistently. Rubrics, which typically take the form of a grid, contain the following basic elements, as illustrated in the example at the links below:

  1. Criteria for performance (see “Components” in the example)
  2. Levels of performance (see “Outcome Quality Levels” in the example)
  3. Descriptors of performance at each level

Components of Undergraduate Writing & Characteristics at Different Quality Levels (pdf)


More about designing and grading assignments

The following links provide more information about designing assignments:

Additional materials are available in CTE’s Essential Guide to Teaching.

These portfolios in the CTE Gallery show examples of effective assignment design and use of rubrics

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Support for Fall Flex Teaching!

CTE has created a website for helping faculty create flexible courses that can shift between in-person and online. Visit the Flex Teaching site.