Emily Dosmar explains the ungrading movement and explores how educators can shift focus from grades to growth and engagement.
Shifting Focus from Grades to Growth and Engagement
🔵 Grades may not accurately reflect a student’s growth and improvement, as an 80 could represent significant progress from a previous score of 60.
🔵 Grades do not track career success and achievement, as they are highly subjective and do not measure growth.
🔵 It is important for teachers to have the freedom to revise and adapt their syllabus to meet the needs of their students, rather than being restricted by rigid templates.
🔵 Ungrading, combined with standards-based assessment, allows students to have input in determining their grades, promoting a sense of ownership and accountability in their learning process.
🔵 Ungrading can create a more positive and engaging learning environment by shifting the focus from grades to genuine excitement about learning.
“The biggest concern I get from colleagues is that my grade distribution will be skewed and result in too many A’s, but I’ve made my peace with it because my focus is on students becoming professional adults that contribute to society.”
“Target your class to the people who don’t really want to be there… I’m more concerned about the 95% of the students who do really want to be there and do really want to learn.”
🔵 The concept of ungrading challenges the traditional idea of grades as a measure of success and instead focuses on individual growth and progress.
Benefits of Feedback over Grades in Promoting Learning
🟣 Research shows that students who receive feedback alone have higher interest and performance compared to those who receive grades, indicating that grades can undermine learning.
🟣 The emphasis on feedback rather than grades in a traditionally run class allows for grade revisions and gives students the opportunity to respond to the feedback they receive.
🟣 Treating students with respect includes explaining the reasons behind course policies and assignments, rather than imposing them arbitrarily.
🟣 By engaging in conversations and seeking feedback from students, the speaker recalibrates their expectations and collaboratively works towards making changes that align with both the instructor’s and students’ definitions of reasonable.
🟣 By giving students open-ended projects and focusing on feedback rather than grades, the teacher saw outstanding results and even had students continue their projects beyond the class.
Impact of Grades on Student Well-being and Future Prospects
🟢 The impact of a low grade on a student’s self-belief and future prospects highlights the potential long-term consequences of a grading system that doesn’t take into account individual circumstances and growth.
🟢 Low GPA has been found to be a predictor of student suicide, highlighting the urgent need to examine and dismantle the structures that contribute to this mental health crisis.
🟢 Freshmen often struggle with understanding that trying hard does not necessarily equate to earning an A, highlighting the need for clear evidence of learning in lower level classes.