grading practices

Ideal Design Modifications: Doing It Your Way

“I’d do things a lot differently if I just had fewer students.”

Have you ever thought or said this? This sentiment has been voiced to me over and over again by attendees in faculty development workshops and by graduate student instructors I have supervised. Truth be

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Ungrading in Content-Focused Courses

When I discovered the ungrading movement a couple of years ago, I realized it fit well with an approach I’d been exploring in my writing classes—one that prioritized student labor, revision, and holistic assessment. I knew this approach had a well-established basis in theory and

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Letter Grades, Percentage Scores, or Points

The importance of grades to students is difficult to overstate. The teacher arrives in the classroom with a set of exams and papers, and feel the tension start to rise. Eyes dart nervously from the stack to the teacher—will she pass them back now or

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A Case against Grades

I used to fret quite a lot over my grade distribution. If I gave too many As, did that mean my courses lacked rigor? If too many students failed, was I a bad teacher? My thinking has shifted to a greater concern over student learning

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More on Fair Grades

It’s not often I write a column and then continue to wonder about the arguments it sets forth, but that’s been happening with my recent “Fair Grading Policies” column. Author Daryl Close, a philosophy professor, makes the case that fair grades should be based solely

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Over-the-shoulder view of a female professor lecturing to an auditorium

Teaching the How: Three Ways to Support Failure

I give students in my literature courses a lot of weird assignments: I have them make and post films about why people should read Dickens. I tell them these films should show careful analysis of the text but should also entertain and have good music

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using specs grading

Using Specifications Grading to Deepen Student Thinking

Do you use auto-graded multiple-choice and true-false quizzes and exams? If so, why?

Is it because you’re convinced that these forms of assessment are rigorous and authentic instruments for measuring student learning? Or is it because, given that you are teaching larger enrollment classes with

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students taking test

A Challenge to Current Grading Practices

There’s a lot to be gained from considering ideas and arguments at odds with current practice. In higher education, many instructional practices are accepted and replicated with little thought. Fortunately, there are a few scholars who keep asking tough questions and challenging conventional thinking. Australian

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