Qualitative Grading Overview

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Qualitative grading is the process by which instructors use rubric-based scales (e.g., 1-5, “Satisfactory,” “Needs Improvement”) to assign grades, rather than “traditional” numeric (1-100) and letter (A-F) scales. Qualitative grades assigned to student work or performance are considered assessments that present the overall picture of a student’s “success” or “mastery” of the key learning outcomes in the class.

Qualitative grading is most often used in the lower school contexts where instructors may grade on students’ ability to count up to a certain number or their correct use of punctuation. Using qualitative grading in middle and upper schools is less common, but may be used to assess class participation, general preparedness, or other non-numeric assessment areas.

Learn more about configuring qualitative grades.

Qualitative Grading Organization

The organization of qualitative grading in Veracross is hierarchical, with each level building on the content from the one below it. This ensures that all qualitative grades are logically organized for grade entry via the Teacher Portal and grade that displays on the report card document. There is no maximum number of categories, rubrics, or criteria that can be entered.

The qualitative grading hierarchy, moving from general to specific is:

  1. Rubric Category (e.g., Kindergarten Math)
  2. Rubrics (e.g., Kindergarten Math – Counting), including rubric comments
  3. Rubric Criteria: (e.g., can count to ten, participation), including Rubric Scale (e.g., Satisfied, Good, Very Good, or numeric)

Rubric Categories

The top level of the hierarchy is the rubric category, i.e., the group into which all rubrics are organized. A best practice for labeling categories is to include both the grade level and subject within the description, e.g., “Kindergarten Math,” “Grade 1 English,” “Grade 2 History,” “US Humanities,” etc.


The second level of the hierarchy is the rubric, or the specific objective, dimension, performance, etc. that a school is interested in assessing per rubric category. For example, if the Rubric Category is “Kindergarten Math,” the rubrics might be be “Counting,” “Addition,” “Subtraction,” etc.

Rubric Comment
Rubrics can also be configured to include a rubric comment, allowing further assessment tracking beyond the proficiency level. For example, schools may have a Homeroom class for first grade that covers different subjects (history, math, etc.), and they may want teachers to complete a comment for each one.

Rubric Criteria

The third level of the hierarchy is the Rubric Criteria, i.e., the specific areas of assessment for each rubric by which the student is graded. For example, if the rubric is “Counting,” the criteria might be “Can Count to 10,” “Can Count to 20,” etc.

Rubric Scale

Each rubric criteria is associated with a rubric scale, i.e., the proficiency levels that teachers will use to grade the criteria. These proficiency levels are are words, phrases, point scales, or other symbols that the teacher uses to assess criteria. For example, a rubric scale might be Satisfactory, Good, Very Good, Excellent.