When I first started teaching, I used a rubric similar to the ones that my own teachers had used. That can be found here. But as time went on, I became increasingly dissatisfied with it. I felt like I didn’t really know what I meant by “imagination” or “clarity of communication”. And if I didn’t know what I meant, how could students possibly know?!
After attending a few teaching workshops, I radically revised the rubric I was using. The revised version can be found here. I used this kind of rubric for a number of years, but again became dissatisfied, so tried a new layout and changed some of the criteria wording. The most recent version can be found here. In reviewing all three documents, one can see that each rubric became more specific about what I am looking for in a quarter-long project, and thus clearer about what is expected.
I post my rubrics on Blackboard at the start of each quarter and tell my students: “If you want to know how to get an A in this class, just read the grading rubric for each project to see what is expected.” Being more specific about my expectations has led to fewer after-hours discussions about grades, a definite plus!