Grading your yearbook students’ performance isn’t always easy! How do you create an effective grading system for individuals that are working towards the same end product? Your yearbookers are engaged and working hard to create your best yearbook yet. It’s important to track their progress, offer feedback and reward their accomplishments along the way. 

One useful tool that can help guide and grade students’ work is a yearbook rubric. In education terminology, a rubric is a guide used to score and evaluate students’ work. A yearbook rubric does the same! Building a fair and effective yearbook rubric can feel complicated, but including these three core areas is a great place to start.

Grading Scale

First, your yearbook rubric should include a grading scale. A scale is used to measure the achieved number of points in each category, based on a total number. For example, your grading scale might range from one to five. You may assign a four as exceeding expectations in a certain category, or three as meeting expectations. Keep your scale simple and tailor it to meet your needs. 



Your grading scale represents the number of points achieved. Criteria establish the categories by which work is evaluated.  For example, if you’re grading a student on their photo captions, there should be a way to measure what makes the work an achieving grade or barely passing. A criterion should be specific and explain the type of writing, photography, etc. that is being graded. Headlines, body copy, photo captions, story-telling, etc. are all types of categories that can be evaluated from your yearbookers.

Standards & Descriptions

Standard descriptions for each category or criterion are important to establish expectations for students’ work. Each category should have a target or standard. These standards should be lengthy descriptions of what needs to be included or conveyed to reach or exceed the standard. For example, your headline category should describe what makes an attention-grabbing, descriptive headline and what students should include to achieve that. If your grading scale uses a one to five range, your standard description for that category explains how to achieve a five, or perfect score.

Overall, a yearbook rubric can make grading fast, fair and easy. It’s important to note that every student should be provided with a grading rubric at the start of the year. This way, they know what to expect and how to succeed in the class. Grading your yearbookers can be tough to tackle, but with a few resources and organization, you can ensure a successful class and even better yearbook.

Susan Stanczak


Lives in Chicago, IL and works as a consultant.
“The best part of creating the yearbook for my school is taking photos, designing the pages and editing the final pages. It’s a great sense of accomplishment.”
Susan loves dancing, writing, and theater. She’s even made an appearance on NBC’s drama series, Chicago Med!
If Susan could only eat one meal for the rest of her life, it would be pizza!