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MarylandFine Arts Education Instructional Tool Kit
All Fine Arts Content Areas Dance Music Theatre Visual Arts
 
Maryland Fine Arts Education
Developing Fine Arts Assessments
Integrating Fine Arts Across the Curriculum
Assessment Outcomes and Implications

Scoring Assessments

Scoring Rubrics

Scoring rubrics are designed to clearly distinguish among levels of student performance or proficiency. This kind of scoring tool is most often applied to constructed response items and to performance-based tasks.

Scoring rubrics are typically composed of:

  • A stem statement that identifies the skill or understanding to be demonstrated
  • A score scale of score points that identify each performance level
  • Score point descriptors that provide details about the qualitative and quantitative distinctions between score points (performance levels)

The score scales (measurement scales) for rubrics may include a range of the number of points needed to describe all discernable levels of performance (e.g., 0-2, 0-3). Minimally, rubrics differentiate between responses that should receive partial credit (those responses that are partially complete, partially correct, or overly general) and those that should receive full credit (those that are consistently accurate, complete and well-developed).

Wherever appropriate, scoring rubrics should be accompanied by answer cues. Answer cues may illustrate the full range of acceptable responses or take the form of a set of possible, acceptable responses. Answer cues may also be a list of key concepts, facts, or examples that are likely to appear in a response.

Ideally, student sample responses illustrating each level of the score scale (often referred to as "anchor" papers) should be identified to help scorers make accurate score decisions and, when appropriate, to support instruction.

There are two types of rubrics:

Generic rubrics

Activity-specific rubrics

Generic Rubrics

Generic rubrics are scoring tools used to apply general criteria to a variety of student work, be it a product (things they make) or a performance (things they do), as long as each addresses the same objective or objectives. For example, a rubric that differentiates levels of accomplishment in portraying character, action, and environment in a dramatic presentation could also be used to score a solo performance, a group improvisation, or any number of other performance events.

View examples of generic rubrics:

Please refer to the scoring information provided in the following examples.

Dance Activity 1


Music Performance Task 12A

Music Performance Task 12B


Theatre Performance Task: Part A


Visual Arts Activity 1B

Visual Arts Activity 4

Visual Arts Performance Task 20B

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Activity-Specific Rubrics

Activity-specific rubrics are the scoring tools most often used for constructed response items that require a response based on a specific situation or stimulus. Similar to a generic rubric, an activity-specific rubric consists of a numerical score scale, along with brief descriptions of the characteristics of responses at each performance level.

Activity-specific rubrics differ from generic rubrics in that the score scale descriptors only apply to one particular assessment activity, which may require a specific stimulus and specific response cues that include a specific number of response parts (e.g., elements of dance) and/or a specific content reference (e.g., Cubism). A generic rubric, for example, would include a score scale descriptor such as "an accurate and thorough explanation of how an artifact represents the culture in which it was produced," while an activity-specific rubric would say "an accurate and thorough explanation of ways the tribal mask represents the Sioux culture."

View examples of activity-specific rubrics:

Please refer to the scoring information provided in the following examples.
Constructed Response Items:

Dance Activity 2

Dance Activity 3

Dance Activity 4

Dance Activity 5

Dance Activity 6


Music Activity 2

Music Activity 5


Theatre Activity 1

Theatre Activity 2

Theatre Activity 3

Theatre Activity 4

Theatre Activity 5

Theatre Activity 6


Visual Arts Activity 1A

Visual Arts Activity 3

Visual Arts Activity 5

Visual Arts Activity 6

Visual Arts Activity 7

Visual Arts Activity 8


Performance-based Tasks:

Dance Performance Task 3

Dance Performance Task 9


Theatre Performance Task: Part B


Visual Arts Performance Task 20A

Visual Arts Performance Task 20B

Visual Arts Performance Task 25A

Visual Arts Performance Task 25B

"Hybrid" Scoring Tools

Sometimes, answer keys are used as only a first step in making a score decision, that is, in instances when the number of correct responses is determined first and then matched to criteria in a rubric or activity-specific scoring tool.

View Examples:

Dance Activity 2

Dance Activity 4

Dance Activity 6


Music Activity 1

Music Activity 2


Theatre Activity 1

Theatre Activity 5

Adapting Scoring Tools

Sometimes, only a few words or phrases make a scoring tool activity-specific rather than generic. Changing those words or phrases to more comprehensive language allows them to be used with a limitless variety of assessment activities, as long as they address the same objectives.

The following are a few examples of scoring tools used in this Tool Kit that have been adapted to fit a wider array of activities.

Visual Arts Activity 3: In this scoring tool, a reference to a specific school of art (Cubism) has been replaced by the more general phrase in italics below:

The response to this activity provides evidence of the student's ability to compare similarities and differences in subject, style, content, and technique among schools of art and periods of art history.


  1. 3   An accurate and well-supported explanation of why both artworks are representative of the same movement/school of art; response cites multiple (2 or more) details from each artwork
  2. 2   An accurate and somewhat supported explanation of why both artworks are representative of the same movement/school of art; response cites at least one detail from each artwork; may include some overly general or redundant ideas
  3. 1   A partial (partially complete or partially correct) or overly general explanation of why both art works are representative of the same movement/school of art; may cite detail from only one artwork and/or may include some indefensible information/ideas
  4. 0   Other

Theatre Activity 2: In this scoring tool, a reference to a specific character has been replaced by the phrases in italics below:

The response to this activity provides evidence of the student's ability to interpret characters using information drawn from dramatic texts to support inferences and conclusions.

  1. 3   An accurate and thorough character analysis of a major character in the play: two or more supporting details/examples are included which are both text-based and inferential, and these focus on both action (what can be seen and heard) and motivation (what must be inferred/interpreted)
  2. 2   A generally accurate and adequate character analysis of a major character in the play; while two or more supporting details/examples are included, they are for the most part text-based and literal, focusing mostly on what can be seen and heard
  3. 1   A partial (i.e., partially complete or partially correct) or overly general character analysis of a major character in the play; one or more supporting details/examples are included, but these are text-based and literal or overly general; the response may include some indefensible as well as defensible information/ideas
  4. 0   Other

Dance Performance Task 9: In this scoring tool, a reference to a specific number of elements of dance (two, based on the number cued-for in the activity) has been replaced by a more open-ended reference to elements of dance in italics below:

The response to this activity provides evidence of the student's ability to manipulate the elements of dance to convey similar and contrasting ideas.

  1. 3   The student performs the movement pattern with a strong performance quality that clearly and fully illustrates the manipulation of several (two or more) elements of dance to clearly convey a specific idea that is similar to or in contrast to the original movement pattern as indicated in written response; changes appear clearly purposeful
  2. 2   The student performs the movement pattern on an adequate level that shows changes in at least two elements of dance to convey a general idea (expressed or only implied) that is similar to or in contrast to the original movement pattern as indicated in written response; changes appear generally purposeful
  3. 1   The student performs the movement pattern on an adequate level that shows change in one element of dance that conveys an overly general idea that may nor may not be similar to or in contrast to the original movement pattern; any changes may/may not appear to be purposeful
  4. 0   Other

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