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How to Master Grading Rubrics


If you're in a nursing course with grading rubrics, make sure you follow these 5 tips!There’s a good chance that you’re going to come across grading rubrics in nursing school. Rubrics have become popular in all of education for a number of reasons—mainly because they’re fair, and because they outline instructors’ expectations clearly. At Ameritech College of Healthcare, we use rubrics quite a bit, particularly in our RN-BSN online degree completion program. Every project has a very clear and specific grading rubric, which is great if you know how to use them, but daunting if you don’t. To help nursing students everywhere, we’ve assembled five tips to master grading rubrics for any project you come across.

1. Reread, reread, reread your grading rubrics

Like with every NCLEX question, when you first receive a grading rubric you have to read the whole thing before you can answer it. Once you finish reading it, read it again, and a couple more times after that. With any big project in nursing school, there are going to be a lot of parts, which are outlined in grading rubrics. That’s the benefit and challenge of a rubric: It tells you exactly what you need to do, which means if you overlook even one part your grade will be affected. To be sure you complete everything, from the very beginning you need to know and understand the rubric backward and forward—so reread, reread, and reread.

2. Ask questions about the rubric early

If you read your rubric as soon as you receive it, you’ll see what parts will be most difficult—and what parts you may not understand. Your nursing school instructor will very likely explain each grading rubric in class, but you may still have questions or concerns about certain sections. Ask her or him about them as soon as possible. If you wait till the last minute for an explanation or clarification, you may not receive it, and you may not be able to complete a large section of the project. Always err on the side of cation, and ask questions early.

3. As you work, think “rubrically”

The big picture view isn’t always helpful. Just look at nursing school. If you walk in on your first day concentrating on everything you have to learn and all the skills you have to gain, you’ll be too intimidated and overwhelmed to move forward. You have to take each semester and section at a time, and sometimes each day at a time. After two years, you’ll realize you’ve learned everything you need to become a nurse, which might not have been possible if you focused on the big picture the whole time.

The same is true with projects that have grading rubrics. They’re big, sometimes intimidatingly big, so rather than focus on the whole thing, look at each section individually, and tackle them one at a time. This makes projects much more manageable, and it reduces your risk of overlooking something on the rubric.

Related Resource: How to Survive Your First Week in Nursing School

4. Finish the project in plenty of time

Whatever the project’s due date is, try to finish at least a few days in advance. There’s a good chance you’ll do this naturally if you’re working on the project “rubrically,” step by step, but make a note in your calendar just to be safe. This should keep you moving at a steady pace, so you don’t rush and forget anything, and you won’t feel incredibly stressed. It will also ensure you have plenty of time to review everything.

Related Resource: Try These De-Stress Techniques During Nursing School

5. Double-check every part of the rubric

Before you turn in your project—ideally days before—go through every part of the rubric again, and cross-check it with your project. Did you complete everything? Are the individual components polished? Is the project as a whole finished? Once you’ve made sure you completed every part, you can go back through and revise and strengthen certain sections to benefit the entire project. If you’re able to do this with time to spare, you’re really mastered grading rubrics.

At Ameritech College of Healthcare, our curriculum and classes are made for our students, and we want each of them to feel prepared for every project they undertake. Whether you’re just starting nursing school or are ready to further your career and earn your BSN degree online, and please reach out with any questions. We’d love to hear from you.