Characteristics to note in the rubric:

  • Language is descriptive, not evaluative.
  • Labels for degrees of success are descriptive ("Expert" "Proficient", etc.); by avoiding the use of letters representing grades or numbers representing points, there is no implied contract that qualities of the paper will "add up" to a specified score or grade or that all dimensions are of equal grading value.
  • This rubric is developed for a specific science lab report; revisions may be required to describe the expectations for other assignments.

Download Lab Report Evaluation Rubric

Evaluation of Lab Reports

Expert Proficient Apprentice Novice


Presents a clear summary of the aims of the study and its significance. Briefly describes experimental design. Probably includes one or more references to supporting sources.

Either lacks clarity or is missing one of the primary elements.

Weak or missing primary elements.

No real introduction.

Materials and Methods

Gives the reader a clear picture of the methods and materials used. Does not use prescriptive language. Uses specific, not general, terminology. Detailed, step-by-step procedures are clearly referenced. Avoids long, redundant descriptions.

Some methods are presented so briefly and/or vaguely that it is unclear how or why they were done. May be some written as a protocol rather than a description.

Some methods are omitted; others are presented in a piecemeal, vague form.

Methods barely mentioned.


All figures and tables have titles and legends. All results are clearly presented, with a logical sequence. Controls are clearly indicated.

Some data may be missing, or legends may be brief, vague or uninformative.

Data is presented haphazardly. It is sometimes not possible to tell what material or procedure was used to obtain the data.

No logical connection between methods and data. Irrelevant data may be included, and relevant data left out. No legends.


It is clear that the methods and results have been understood. The results (including controls) are related to the questions posed and analyzed for their effectiveness. Possible explanations for inconsistencies and/or unexpected results are given.

There may be some lack of clarity. Did the writer understand why certain methods were used, and how the results could shed light on the questions asked? Incomplete analysis of inconsistencies and unexpected results.

Very little analysis of the results. Statements are vague and general. Inconsistencies are explained by 'human error' or something similar.

Mostly a restatement of results. No analysis given. No recognition of error sources. No understanding of controls.


It is clear that the report covers a group of related procedures with a clear set of goals.

Sometimes the goals are not clearly related to the report. Some fragmentation occurs, with methods and results apparently unrelated to each other.

Transitions are abrupt. Each day's work seems unrelated to the next's. Aims are not clearly present throughout.

Disjointed. No flow. Very little use of headings, or explanatory sentences.


No spelling or grammatical errors.

An occasional error.

Apparently not proofread for errors.

Frequent grammatical errors: incomplete sentences, tense changes, misspellings.

J. Cardon