Creating a Turnitin rubric

The following article explains the process of creating Turnitin rubrics to support marking and grading student work digitally. 

Rubrics requirement

In accordance with the SCU Assessment, teaching and learning procedures, all assessment pieces must have a rubric for grading that uses standards-based assessment with explicit criteria (with the exception of accreditation assessment). 

Before you begin

Turnitin rubrics can be created either as part of the process of setting up a new Turnitin assignment or by editing an existing assignment. Ensure that you have followed the process of Setting up a Turnitin assignment first and have written a rubric for the assignment before you continue. 

Rubric resources

For information on what kind of rubric is right for your assessment and how to write an effective rubric, see the knowledge base article on Rubrics

For a new Assignment

  1. From the Turnitin New Assignment screen, locate Optional settings then scroll to the section called Online grading.
  2. Click Launch Rubric/Form Manager to open the rubric creation tool.

For an existing Assignment

  1. To add a rubric to an existing Turnitin assignment, open the Turnitin assignment in Blackboard (located under Site Management > Site Tools > Turnitin Assignments), and then click on the heading Edit assignment.
  2. Follow the process above to find the Online Grading section and Launch the Rubric/Form Manager.

Making a new rubric 

Turnitin rubrics are created using the Rubric/Form Manager.

The following rubric types are available:

Rubric typeDescriptionUsage
Standard rubricThis type of rubric allows you to enter scale values and criteria percentages. The maximum grade value for this type of rubric will be the same as the highest scale value entered (which must be set to 100%).Recommended for numerical scoring and grading of student assessment.
Custom rubricEach rubric cell can be modified and allocated its own point value.

It is not recommended to use this rubric type as it does not readily support the assessment policy Rule 3 coursework awards.

Qualitative rubricDoes not provide numerical scoring.

This type of rubric is not recommended as it does not provide a valid score for marking purposes and can only provide written feedback.


Weighting Turnitin rubrics

In order to meet Southern Cross University coursework rules, each grade must be defined using a percentage range [Section 11]. For example, a Credit has a range between 65%-74% with the midpoint of this grade falling at 69%. Turnitin rubrics are unable to use percentage ranges, so instead performance standards must be graded using the midpoint of the range, to avoid skewing student results. 

Set a 100% value column

Please note that a maximum value of 100% is required in the left-most column (High Distinction+) in order for the midpoints of the remaining performance standards to apply correctly.

Setting up fail grades

 It is advised to divide the fail grade into a 25% midpoint, with a further absent fail percentage of 0% to differentiate between work attempted and work not submitted by the student. 

The table below provides information about the recommended performance standards (grades) and percentage weightings for a Turnitin rubric. The grade descriptors provide descriptions of student performances that would demonstrate each standard.


High Distinction + (100%)High Distinction (92%)Distinction (79%)Credit (69%)Pass (57%)Fail (25%)Absent Fail (0%)
Grade Descriptors The student demonstrates exemplary performance with no errors.The student’s performance, in addition to satisfying all of the basic learning requirements, demonstrates distinctive insight and ability in researching, analysing and applying relevant skills and concepts, and shows exceptional ability to synthesise, integrate and evaluate knowledge. The student’s performance could be described as outstanding in relation to the learning requirements specified.The student’s performance, in addition to satisfying all of the basic learning requirements, demonstrates distinctive insight and ability in researching, analysing and applying relevant skills and concepts, and shows a well-developed ability to synthesise, integrate and evaluate knowledge. The student’s performance could be described as distinguished in relation to the learning requirements specified.The student’s performance, in addition to satisfying all of the basic learning requirements specified, demonstrates insight and ability in researching, analysing and applying relevant skills and concepts. The student’s performance could be described as better than satisfactory or adequate or competent or capable in relation to the learning requirements specified.The student’s performance satisfies all of the basic learning requirements specified and provides a sound basis for proceeding to higher-level studies in the subject area. The student’s performance could be described as satisfactory or adequate or competent or capable in relation to the learning requirements specified.The student’s performance fails to satisfy the learning requirements specified.The student submits no assessment item or does not attempt this part of the task.

Can 7 columns indicate a valid grade?

High stakes assessment worth over 50% should ideally include a range of criteria and moderation processes to ensure grade validity through the use of rubrics. A rubric with 7 standards columns and 5 criteria will still have 35 potential grades awarded, which is sufficient to reach a valid and accurate overall result for a unit. For this reason, holistic rubrics (with a single criteria row) are not a good fit for Turnitin assignments. 

Where there is a requirement to provide a greater percentage variation you can either;

  • add an extra column/s to the left or right of a standard (adding an appropriate weighting) or,
  • make a manual adjustment to the overall grade calculated by the Turnitin rubric, supported by marker comments that provide justification for the change.

You are advised to speak with the Unit Assessor, the Course Coordinator or the faculty Associate Dean of Teaching and Learning where you have concerns about the suitability of a rubric instrument.

Modifying an existing rubric 

Rubric scorecards can be modified after creation. However, if the rubric scorecard has been used to score student papers, modification of the original rubric scorecard will not be allowed, it will instead need to be duplicated.

Modifying an attached rubric

Changing or detaching a rubric from a Turnitin assignment will remove all existing rubric scoring from papers in the assignment, including assignments that have previously been marked. However, overall grades for previously graded papers will remain. Use this option with caution.

Sharing rubrics

Only the owner of the rubric can edit the rubric; if you need are developing a rubric someone else will need to edit, you should export it and give them the resulting file to import into the assignment.

Turnitin Resources: 

You cannot modify a rubric after it has been used to grade papers/ provide feedback. To edit a rubric you have already used, it will need to be duplicated

Importing and exporting a rubric 

Rubrics within Turnitin are only accessible within that specific Blackboard site, so exporting a rubric is good practice. Exporting a rubric allows you to share it with colleagues as well as easily import it into a new unit. 

When exporting a rubric...

If you are exporting a rubric, you should convert it to a qualitative/ custom rubric. If you leave it as a percentage rubric, there is likely to be an error when you import the rubric. If you export the rubric as a qualitative rubric, then when imported convert it back to a percentage rubric, all the scores will still be set up for the scales and criteria.

The following video covers the process for importing and exporting Turnitin rubrics.

Turnitin Resources: 

Rubrics in Microsoft Excel

If you are comfortable using Microsoft Excel, you can now upload a formatted excel file into the Turnitin rubric manager. There is also a template that can be downloaded from the Turnitin Rubric/Form Manager to help get you started. The following video explains this process.


(Please note - it's better to refer to the Online version rather than export, as it's always up to date)