Final reflections on my year as a faculty fellow


The ungrading community My year as a faculty fellow has been a time of experimentation, professional growth, and community building. While I didn’t know it when I first applied to be a faculty fellow, the DPL conference in Vancouver sent me in a completely new direction in developing my pedagogy. Over the past year, I’ve explored ways to assess students without assigning them grades...

Progress report: Alternative assessment


As a ThinqStudio fellow, I’ve been exploring assessment. When I attended DPL this summer, I discovered a new interest that has become the focus of my work as a fellow this year: rethinking assessment. I’ve long been dissatisfied with the process and effects of assigning and justifying grades. And I’m not the only one; people have been finding that grades can be ineffective...

Experiments in self-assessment


This semester, I’ve been experimenting with self-assessment. Students in my undergraduate 4000-level online course submit weekly self-assessments in which they fill out a chart proposing the number of points they think they’ve earned on their activities that week and they write a paragraph-long reflection of what they’ve learned and how they plan to improve. So far, it’s...

Join the “Hacking Assessment” book club


Are you interested in thinking about how to spend more time on student feedback and less on assigning and justifying grades? Please consider joining the Thinq.Studio book club for Hacking Assessment: 10 Ways to Go Gradeless in a Traditional Grades School. While the book is aimed at K12 teachers, we’ll be talking about how to apply and develop its insights for higher ed. Please email amy...

What happens when you replace grades with a set of requirements?


This weekend the NYT had a story about an alternative assessment model called mastery-based learning: “A New Kind of Classroom: No Grades, No Failing, No Hurry.” Here’s how the article describes it: At M.S. 442, students are encouraged to focus instead on mastering a set of grade-level skills, like writing a scientific hypothesis or identifying themes in a story, moving to the...

Getting away from grades: Student self-assessment


At DPL Vancouver after lunch one day, some colleagues and I had a great conversation with Kris Shaffer about grading. Many of us agreed that grading was one of our biggest challenges as teachers. We all talked about how the process of assigning (and justifying) grades seems to take our time and energy away from giving students meaningful and productive feedback. After years of traditional...