MHS Chemistry
Abbreviated Lab Rubric
Mr. Zahm

The purpose of this rubric is to let you know what kind of work is considered acceptable.  Unacceptable work is work that you should have revised, and does not match the description of "acceptable" work; so I won't describe it.  Exceptional work is work that goes above and beyond standard expectations in some way, and usually exhibits some degree of creativity in presentation or problem solving, so I won't describe it either.  Always try to do better than you think anyone expects.  These descriptions correspond with 4, 3, and 0 in the typical MHS rubric; letter grades will be explained for each lab.   They do not automatically equate with A, B, C, D, or F, no matter what anybody else has told you.  See me in person for a full explanation.

This rubric will quickly describe what makes a quality lab.  We will discuss in class the specifics for each investigation.  For a more detailed rubric than this document, please see the General Lab Rubric

As long as MHS reports grades in A-B-C-D-F format, I will "translate" grades from this rubric as follows:  Each section will be graded on a 0-3 basis.  Your lab report grade will be the percentage of available points earned.  It will be reported as a total, a percentage, and a letter grade.   When and if MHS switches to a 0-4 reporting system, your grade will be equal to the minimum score on any section (eight 4's and one 2 will be a 2).  This is because a lab that appears to be excellent except for a garbled data table is not "excellent", it is "nearly acceptable."  The on-line version of the Room Management Plan will be always be updated to reflect the school's grading policies.

Meanwhile, here is the Abbreviated Lab Rubric.  Use it as a guide whenever you are checking your work before handing it in!
  • Regardless of the rest of the rubric, a lab must be complete and on time in order to be eligible for a "4."


  • The report must be your own original work.
  • It must be a sequential and logical report of your investigation and thinking.
  • It must be clear and easy to understand (this is not the same thing as "neat").
  • The data and analysis must be correct.
  • Conclusions must be backed up by evidence (observations, measurements, calculations).
  • The lab must be neatly written.  This includes the requirements that labs be handwritten and no more than one piece of paper.
  • All safety procedures and instructions will be observed.

Don't panic: if you have an IEP that says not to grade handwriting, I won't grade handwriting.  I will still expect work that hasn't been run over, crumbled, and chewed.  If you are an ESL student, grammar and spelling issues will be taken into account.

  • Missing
  • Lab turned in after the "expiration date" with no guidance conference.
  • Lab is plagiarized (no improvement or re-write available).

One almost-last note: once in a while a student tries to hand in a report that is obviously not finished or ready to hand in.  I will return those papers immediately, unchecked and ungraded, for completion.  Remember that it is your responsibilty to make sure all work is complete and on time.

And a truly last note: there are two adjustments to this rubric starting in 2005-06.  One is that no mention is made of labs being typed.  This is because I will not accept computer-processed labs for at least the first half of the school year.  Also, all labs should be on no-more than one sheet, both sides. 

More Specific & Detailed Notes:
[How To Write A Lab Report]
[How to Handle Data]
[Significant Figure Rules]
[Scientific Notation information]
[How to Make a Graph]
[How to Show Calculations]

[MHS Chem page][MHS AP Chem page]