“Beyond Grading” workshop recap

On March 9, more than two dozen faculty members and staff from around CU Denver and beyond gathered for a one-day workshop on rethinking grading. We began the day by discussing, “What is the purpose of grades?” and “What are the drawbacks of grades?” Then, Jesse Stommel joined us via Zoom to talk about his […]

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 […]

Capitalism and grading

If we want our pedagogy to foster critical thinking and intellectual curiosity, then I’m increasingly convinced that traditional grading may be holding us back. In a recent review of Kids These Days: Human Capital and the Making of Millennials, Winant explains the author’s view of the relationship between education and neoliberal capitalism: Harris finds the world […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]