Single Point Rubrics: What They Are And How To Use Them In the Classroom

A large part of being an elementary school teacher is juggling all the competing priorities you have at any given time. Because your classroom is limited and invaluable, any steps, tools, or tricks you can use to help you be a more effective teacher or give you back more instructional time is an incredibly valuable tool in the classroom. 

That’s why today we’re talking about single point rubrics! This assessment tool is an effective way to help provide your students clarity about the expectations of their work. Let’s dive in to learn more about single point rubrics.

What are single point rubrics?

Single point rubrics are a type of assessment tool that focus on the criteria for success in a given task without providing predefined levels or descriptors of performance. Unlike traditional rubrics that outline different levels of achievement (e.g., excellent, good, fair, poor), a single point rubric simply defines the target criteria for a particular assignment and allows room for students to exceed the criteria or provide additional evidence of their understanding.

Benefits of using single point rubrics

One significant benefit of using single point rubrics is that they provide clarity to students about the specific expectations for their work. By concentrating on the criteria for success, students can better understand what they need to do to meet the learning goals. For example, in a writing assignment, the single point rubric may highlight that the students need to include a clear thesis statement, use evidence to support their arguments, and demonstrate proper grammar and spelling.

Another advantage is that single point rubrics promote a growth mindset in your students. Since they don't come with predefined levels like traditional rubrics, students are encouraged to focus on their own progress and improvement. This fosters a sense of accomplishment and motivates them to push beyond the basic requirements to demonstrate their individual strengths.

Comparing single point rubrics to other assessment tools

Like every classroom, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Therefore it’s important to know how this assessment tool compares to the rest of your options.

Single point rubrics


Single point rubrics are primarily used by teachers to provide clear criteria for success in a particular assignment or task. They focus on what students need to achieve without predefined levels, allowing room for individual growth and creativity.


Single point rubrics offer precise feedback, promote a growth mindset, and help students understand specific expectations. They are relatively easy to create and can be customized for each task, making them valuable tools for formative assessment.


In a reading assignment, a single point rubric might focus on criteria such as recognizing sight words, retelling the main events in the story, and answering questions about the text.

Exit tickets


Exit tickets are short, quick assessments given at the end of a lesson or class period to gauge students' understanding of the key concepts covered.


Exit tickets provide immediate feedback to you about whether students grasped the main points of your lesson. They help identify misconceptions, assess the effectiveness of your teaching strategies, and inform instructional decisions for future lessons.


At the end of a math lesson on counting and addition, an exit ticket may ask Kindergarten students to count the number of objects in a picture and first-grade students to solve simple addition problems.

Digital assessments

Kid playing Kodable, a programming game for kids


Digital assessments refer to using technology to assess students' learning, which can include quizzes, tests, or interactive activities.


Digital assessments can be automatically graded, saving teachers time and providing instant feedback to students. They can also offer interactive elements that engage students and accommodate differentiated instruction strategies.


Using a free educational app like Kodable, you can have students play through self-paced lessons to get immediate feedback and help build problem solving skills.

Want to bring this tool into your classroom? Create your own Kodable account today!



Self-assessments involve students evaluating their own performance and understanding of a topic or assignment.


Self-assessments encourage metacognition, where students reflect on their learning and identify areas of strength and weakness. It empowers students to take ownership of their learning and set goals for improvement.


After completing a drawing activity, Kindergarten students could self-assess their work, identifying the colors they used and describing what they drew. Second-grade students could self-assess a writing assignment, reflecting on whether they included proper punctuation and used descriptive language.

Creating your own single point rubrics

Ready to start making your own single point rubric? Here are some steps to consider:

1. Identify the Learning Goals

Start by clearly defining the learning objectives for the assignment. What do you want your students to achieve through this task?

2. Focus on Specific Criteria

List the essential criteria that demonstrate successful completion of the learning goals. Keep it simple and straightforward.

3. Leave Room for Growth

Make sure the rubric allows for students to go beyond the basic expectations. Leave space for them to demonstrate creativity, critical thinking, or any other additional qualities.

4. Use Descriptive Language

Instead of using vague language like "good" or "excellent," use specific language that clearly describes the desired outcome.

5. Provide Examples

Include examples of what meets the criteria and what falls short. These examples can help students understand your expectations better.

6. Review and Refine

Before using the rubric, review it to ensure it aligns with your learning goals and the assignment. You might need to make adjustments based on the task's complexity and the grade level.

Single point rubric examples

Here's an example of a single point rubric for a writing assignment in a second-grade classroom:

Assignment Section Criteria
  • Begins with a greeting
  • Includes recipient’s name
  • Uses a comma after the greeting
  • Writes at least three sentences to express ideas or ask questions.
  • Stays on the topic of the letter.
  • Uses appropriate sentence structure and vocabulary.
  • Includes a closing phrase.
  • Signs the letter with their name.
Neatness & Legibility
  • Writing is clear and easy to read.
  • Spaces words and letters appropriately.
  • Uses proper capitalization and punctuation.

In this single point rubric, the focus is on the criteria necessary to meet the learning objectives for writing a friendly letter. The rubric does not include predefined levels (e.g., excellent, good, fair) and instead focuses on what students need to do to succeed in the assignment. Students will receive feedback on whether they meet each criterion or not, allowing them to understand what they did well and where they can improve.


Single point rubrics are all about providing clear guidance and fostering growth in your students. By using them effectively, you can enhance the learning experience for your students and help them reach their full potential. Happy teaching!