RUBRICS / paperless grading

I want to use Google Spreadsheets to create an efficient and effective online writing folder workflow.

A first essential step is translating my existing rubrics into digital form and formatting them for easy use (colors and grading). Feel free to use any rubrics on this page, giving credit where appropriate. I'm looking to improve the process I have set up and would love to collaborate with anyone else who is trying to streamline a completely paperless writing portfolio using Google Docs.

Here is the digital version of my English department's college / personal essay rubric (embedded below).

     - If you put a period in a cell, it will 'activate' the formatting and grade it accordingly in Column F.

     -  I made a second sheet so you could see the outlay of each cell's worth. This sheet is for reference only. If you want to adjust the numbers, you must do it within the formulas found in Column F of the first sheet.

     - To make this your own, click 'file' -> 'make a copy' and then you can edit it as you'd like.

For facilitating paper workflow, you can either print straight from this Master spreadsheet, or 'Copy To' a student's personal rubric spreadsheet (more on this below).

Link to Google Doc

Creative Commons License
This work by Katrina Kennett is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at

In my quest to efficiently use Google Docs as an online writing portfolio, I use Google Spreadsheets as a vehicle for...
     1) paperless grading for ongoing and final assessment
     2) a cumulative online writing portfolio
     3) shifting the conversation away from 'final grades' to 'ongoing progress'

An outline of the video:

I. Purpose of using Google Spreadsheets as rubrics

II. General Analytical Rubric
- how to use 'conditional formatting' to emphasize selected cells
- how I weight my rubric
- the formula for cells
=if(right(cell 1)=".",value of Does Not Meet,if(right(cell 2)=".",value of Almost Meets,if(right(cell 3),=".",value of Meets,if(right(cell 4)=".",value of Exceeds,0))))

III. GN/Short Story Rubric
- personalizing rubric for specific project
- removing distracting zeros using conditional formatting
- student example: using 'stock' cells
- student example: personalizing cells for feedback

IV. Storyboard Rubric
- completely blank with agreed upon rows
- student example: their comments // my comments
- grading as conversation about progress rather than final number

I would love to hear from you if you have questions or suggestions.


  1. this was fantastic! I love it. thanks for sharing this with us. I can't wait to see the next screencast, I would love to do more with this.

  2. That is an awesome video, and I understood less than half of it! Thanks for the link- will totally have to look at creating online rubrics. And self grading too- how nice is that!

  3. Wow, my husband and I are both educators and are super impressed by your work here. Great job! How, though, do you “return” the work to the students? Do you share your Google Spreadsheet with each student? Isn’t that a pain to do for each piece of work? Thanks for your suggestions and thoughts!

  4. Thank you for sharing!

    I am very interested in paperless grading & I'd love to adapt your ideas. To help manage the paper load in my HS classes, I use structured peer assessment. Here's my blog post on it. I'd love ideas on how to incorporate Gdocs into the assessment process. Currently my students submit their essays to me through Edmodo. Edmodo does integrate Google Docs, but I haven't used Edmodo & Gdocs together with my students.

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  6. Wow! Thank you so much for posting this. It is just what I was looking for. I do have a couple of questions. I've made a rubric in spreadsheet. Now I'm trying to figure out how to send each student their own graded rubric. Do I need to have individual files for every student, and then send each of the a separate link to their own file? The students are creating their work in a different platform called My Big Campus. It's a virtual learning environment, like Edmodo, Blackboard, etc. I want to attach a graded rubric or I suppose a link to the rubric for each assignment submitted.

  7. Hi, Katrina. I'd like a clarification -- do you have a separate copy of this spreadsheet for each student, for each assignment? And is each one individually shared with the student? That's the only part that seems cumbersome to me. Otherwise, great job!

    I've been using Google Forms in a similar way. Since the form feeds into a Google spreadsheet, all the students are in a single spreadsheet. I then upload the comments fields from that spreadsheet to our online course management software, Sakai.

    1. I have some similar questions. Did Ms. Kennett respond to your questions. I'm in the trenches trying to pound out some real, working Google-Docs-based rubrics that do the tabulating (populating a running grade-book record over multiple assignments) for me and communicate back to the student as well. If you would like to contact me, I'd appreciate any collaboration on actually applying Ms. Kennett's work this school year. (I was trying to start from scratch with converting my rubrics when I stumbled upon hers. I was struggling with the tabulation and aggregation issue.)

  8. This is a wonderful idea! I learned about your rubrics via a link to your screencast on Twitter this morning. I am a Teacher Librarian at Mira Costa HS in Manhattan Beach, CA. I plan to let my teachers know about the screencast and this page. Thank you for sharing your innovative use of Google Docs!

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  10. Does this rubric link data to an aggregating document where one can see the student's work over time on multiple assignments? Or into a gradebook?

  11. I was wondering if you were interested in using drop-down menu lists rather than typing to add commentary? I would like to use such a Google-based grader on my iPad. Some ideas: drop down list of students; drop down list of frequent comments; etc.

  12. What is the purpose of grey text vs. black text? What is the purpose of the color? Is it to make it easy for the student to see what they got? What about programming it so that instead of typing your initials and a period to generate data, you simply click a button for "yes", indicating that that box on the rubric is the score selected for that category? I'm not criticizing, I just think I can imagine an easier way to get the end results you seem to be seeking. (I imagine you want the student to have the rubric with their boxes shaded an eye-catching color so they can quickly scan and see their results in each visually.)

  13. What a wonderful tutorial. I am currently a student teacher and am trying to bring more paperless ways into the classroom. The kids eat up any work we do on Google Drive and I love their enthusiasm for learning with it. I am going to play around with your rubric. Thank you!

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