Rubrics and Direct Measures

Direct Measures

Direct measures are those that measure student learning by evaluating examples of student work, such as oral presentations, writing assignments, theses or dissertations and exams. Examples include:

  • Course embedded assessments
  • Score and pass rates on tests and appropriate licensure exams
  • Performance evaluations
  • Observations of student behavior, conducted through a systematic process
  • Score gains on pre-test and post measures
  • Thesis/Dissertation evaluations
  • Summaries and assessments of online class discussion threads

Academic Planning and Institutional Research (APIR) also provides additional resources for campus data for context (graduation rates, enrollment trends, etc.).


Rubrics are often used as a tool for evaluating and scoring student work by explicitly and substantively describing the performance expectations for an assignment through: 1) identifying the criteria being assessed; 2) characteristics of the criteria; and 3) the performance level for each criteria. Rubrics are also often used to assess student performance at the course- and program-level.

Rubric Examples

UW-Madison Rubrics