Tips for Teachers and Classroom Resources

How to Create an Oral History Rubric

By The Editorial Team

In history education, teachers often will find a way to help students understand what the expectation is for particular projects by providing an oral history rubric to follow.

A rubric, in general, is a tool used by teachers that sets up criteria for grading assignments and projects submitted by students. It allows students to go into a project with all the areas in which they will be graded so they can plan and mark off each section as they go along.

Why is using rubrics important?

Defining for the students and parents what the teacher expects for quality work will give the students the opportunity to work independently and judge their own work based on specific guidelines issued by the teacher beforehand. It is also a way to explain the reason for the grade the student received and make the grading feel less subjective.

In a learning atmosphere, this oral history rubric allows students to identify the areas in which they need to work and improve their skills.

How do you make a rubric?

Setting up guidelines for students to use in creating their projects can be time-consuming and can also be ineffective if they are not done well. The following are guidelines for making an effective rubric:

  • Identify the most important aspects of the student’s performance
  • Explain the outcomes that need to be measured in the project
  • Include some technology skills
  • Include a grade measure to help the students gauge the detail of their work
  • There are some websites that can help teachers create a rubric for their specific topic or project
  • The rubric must be clear. Trying it out on samples with several other teachers is a good way to gauge its effectiveness… as long as the scores are comparable on the same work

What’s included in an oral history rubric?

The first thing is to determine what qualities are important for evaluation purposes. Formatting, mechanics, the use of a specific literary device, general organization, and spelling or grammar are very common criteria. There should be between three and five criteria for younger students to focus on. Older students can handle seven or more criteria.

In creating the rubric rating scale, it is important to decide whether the grading will include point values, grades A through F, or even a word rating like “Exceptional,” “Successful,” “Improving,” or “Needs Improvement.”

The oral history rubric grading chart will have the set criteria along the left side of the page and the performance ratings along the top. The middle of the grid will be for performance descriptions and extra notes for each student’s individual progress report.

For instance, if one of the criteria is spelling and the teacher has rated the student’s performance a Grade C, the teacher may wish to fill in a personal comment on the grid like “Repeated spelling errors throughout the essay.”

Using precise language to help create a more absolute grading system can help decrease the feeling of subjectivity. It is easier to assess a student’s progress if there are specifics like “Always” or “Seldom” used in the oral history rubric.


As a whole, teachers are close-knit communities that have the ability to share and create better ideas for their students. Finding ways to implement an oral history rubric within the classroom will not be too difficult to do with the widespread help and support programs found in online education forums, teacher blogs and on Pinterest pages.

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