Active Learning Rubric

Rubrics from the Instructor and Student Perspectives
Source: Dr. Cy Leise, Professor of Psychology, Bellevue University


Transformational Instructor
Uses learning challenges and facilitation methods
that result in life change in learners.

  • Designs curriculum on the basis of “meta-strategies” that enable learners to perceive entirely new learning paradigms.
  • Learners establish and meet their own standards at unusually high performance levels.
  • Learners are sought out by other students for mentoring on how to “learn–to-learn.”
  • Learners seek out and assess models, strategies, and theories that extend their range of application of knowledge.
  • Learners independently assess the generalizability of their knowledge and skills for many life contexts.

 Transformed Student
Sets personal challenges that result in
significant life change or growth.

  • Commits to “universal” learning challenges stated or implied in any well-designed curriculum.
  • Establishes and meets own standards at unusually high performance levels.
  • Views the world at a mature adult development level; tackles life’s inconsistencies.
  • Assesses the validity of resources, tools, and models for each learning challenge or context.
  • Independently assesses the generalizability of competencies for many life contexts.


Enriching Instructor
Moves learners to explore knowledge
applications beyond expectations.

  • Curriculum is soundly organized around higher-order goals and processes.
  • Learners are able to assess their benchmarks and to independently challenge themselves.
  • Incorporates individual differences to increase all students’ awareness of the variations in valid strategies for achieving outcomes.
  • Learners assess resources, tools, and models for validity in given contexts.
  • Produces learners able to identify and improve lower levels skills related to higher-level goals.

Enriched Student
Actively explores how to use knowledge for applications of personal interest; performs beyond expectations.

  • Commits most to curricula organized around higher-order processes related to personal goals.
  • Sets and assesses own benchmarks and challenges.
  • Views individual differences, of self and others, as a creative resource.
  • Assesses the validity of resources, tools, and models for each learning challenge or context.
  • Explores, for multiple competencies, how lower level skills are related to higher-level skills.


 Engaging Instructor
Consistently produces active learners who can self-assess performance against standards.

  • Curriculum design includes clear outcomes, learning processes, measures, and standards.
  • Uses facilitation to effectively increase learner confidence that assessment raises performance.
  • Facilitates individual inclusion of learning style issues in self-assessments of performance.
  • Selects resources to provide information, theories, models, and examples that will support learning outcomes in varied ways.
  • Curriculum is based on careful analysis of supporting skills in order to design activities that lead to transfer of sills to similar contexts.

Engaged Student
Active learner who can self-assess
performance against standard

  • Commits strongly to curricula designed with well-defined outcomes, learning processes, measures, and standards.
  • Accepts “ownership” of learning based on confidence that assessment predictably raises performance.
  • Includes personal learning style and attitudes in assessment of strengths, areas of  improvement, and insights relevant to improving performance.
  • Selects resources such as  information, theories, models, and examples that will support learning outcomes in varied or flexible ways.
  • Focuses on building strong foundations across all learning domains as the best way to achieve predictable transfer and generalization of skills to real life contexts.


Conventional Instructor
Manages learning by clearly defining outcomes;
discounts the value of facilitation of learning processes.

  • Describes curriculum outcomes in terms of products; unstated standards, or open to interpretation.
  • Support of learning processes is limited to tutoring, reviews, and grading.
  • Provides evaluative feedback plus encouragement and assistance related to learning styles.
  • Resources are provided to support each learning outcome in varied ways.
  • Aware of the range of lower levels skills but can’t always connect these to more complex goals.

Conventional Student
Manages learning by focusing on outcomes;
limited in awareness of personal potential.

  • Focuses effort on finishing assignments; adjusts to fit unclear or unstated standards.
  • Constrained by an assumption that individuals have learning limitations that cannot be changed.
  • Relies upon instructor flexibility in helping to compensate for barriers related to learning style.
  • Sees use of recommended resources as an extra burden; has limited awareness of connections between resources and learning processes.
  • Aware of many skills but not of their relative levels of difficulty or roles as prerequisites.


Risk Averse Instructor
Avoids change; discounts the value of assessment of teaching strategies or of supporting learning processes.

  • Bases curriculum on assignments related to a specific text.
  • Views learning only in terms of memorization of facts, theories, and procedures.
  • Views variations in learning style, personality, and learner goals as student problems.
  • Views supplemental resources, as well as text reading, as assignments.
  • The main goal is to present lower level knowledge; assume transfer is unlikely until a job or other future challenge is experienced.

Risk Averse Student
Grade-oriented; concerned about meeting
requirements efficiently.

  • Seeks the easiest and simplest solution to getting the  grade expected.
  • Considers learning a problem that  is controlled entirely by the instructor and/or by other external influences.
  • Unaware of variations in learning style, personality, and learner goals.
  • Uses resources only as specifically prescribed for each assignment.
  • Thinks of learning only in terms of factual knowledge; unaware of varied uses of knowledge.

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