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As an Ungrading practitioner in Ethnic Studies, second chances (or third or fourth chances…) are part of each learning activity to encourage curiosity, creativity, risk-taking— and even being unafraid to make mistakes vs. just “getting the grade.”
Building in second chances, or revisions, gives students a sense of security and the confidence to make a mistake— and learn from it. If a student in my class does not meet the assignment criteria, they receive a REDO: Reflect. Edit. Discover. Observe.
When students are given a chance to share how they improved from their revision, their self-assessment reveals their own areas of improvement and makes them feel more confident (The “I feel smart” moment).
Designing a space for students to Reflect, Edit, Discover, and Observe their own performance enables students to articulate their own learning patterns and strategies, and identify obstacles. This method fostered my ability to provide individualized instruction and augmented the mutual teacher-student relationship.
This method fostered my ability to provide individualized instruction and augmented the mutual teacher-student relationship.
🔎 Reflect on their process vs. shutting down due to a mistake.
✂️ Edit their work by applying the guidance of the feedback.
📈 Discover areas of improvement.
🏅 Observe meaningful pathways promoting competency, excellence, growth, and risk-taking.
Begin creating your own assessment by listing 3 learning objectives for your students.
Steps to Use the REDO Technique
1. Use the Complete/Incomplete as the grading functionality.
2. If a student does not meet the criteria for the assignment, they are given the opportunity to REDO. (Remind students that mistakes are part of the learning process. The REDO will eventually build confidence and overall improvement.)
3. Using the assignment feedback area of your LMS, provide individual feedback guiding students through the criteria. If the criteria is numbered, redirect students to specified criteria.
4. For every critique, offer a strategy.
5. Guide the students through a reflection process. Ask them to think about the feedback, their work, and the actions you are encouraging them to take.
Self-Reflection Prompt: What is getting in my way of meeting the criteria? What support do I need from the Learning Center or my professor? What action do I take to level up my work?
6. Provide students with a timeframe to edit the work.
7. When students submit their revisions, have them articulate in writing what their DO evaluation looked like (Discovery and Observation). This can be a separate LMS assignment or be placed as a response in the assignment feedback comment area.
Discovery: First, they share their new pathway, angle, or approach that they discovered after reflecting and editing their resubmission.
Observation: Second, they share their observation of patterns or strategies leveraging their learning progress in the course and identify any obstacles impeding learning opportunities.
Giving Humanized Feedback
Humanized feedback is a strategy developed by faculty mentor Dr. Michelle Pacansky-Brock. It blends effort, ability, and action.
Here’s an example of feedback and encouragement I gave to a student who was reading an essay by civil rights activist Audre Lorde.
🔵 I believe that you can be successful in this class. When we learn something new, it can be challenging. It’s totally normal. So let me provide you guidance to level up the essay.
🔵 In the introduction paragraph, there is a missing connection to Audre Lorde’s essay. Audry Lorde provides us her main argument when she states, “…for the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.”
🔵 Go back to the beginning of your essay, re-read your introduction, and ask yourself if you are addressing her main argument in your thesis statement. Then ask yourself if your body paragraphs are aligning with Audre Lorde’s argument.
🔵 Begin to edit your work. Take it one paragraph at a time. Resubmit when you believe your essay is addressing Audre Lorde’s argument, and contact me if you need to chat with me.
How to Know Your Students are on Track
📘 Periodically, revisit the LMS gradebook and focus on the Incompletes.
💬 Use the messaging functionality in the gradebook to constantly nudge students to aim for completion.
🤝 Be supportive. Offer an office hour, a personal synchronous session or access to the on campus/ online learning center services.
I have found that students enjoy REDOs because it gives them an opportunity to finish work early and to receive feedback before the deadline.
When students have the opportunity to articulate the behavioral changes they see in themselves through self- reflection, it builds long-term confidence and self-awareness.
If final student self-evaluations are part of your learning environment and course design, REDOs help students gather evidence of their overall academic performance. Their evidence of competency, excellence, growth, and risk-taking becomes a narrative of their learning process.
Designing clear criteria becomes an important practice. Encourage students to contribute to any suggestions in the clarity of the criteria.
My Criteria Checklist
✅ Essential question is clearly addressed.
✅ Introductory Paragraph: Dedicate your introductory paragraph as an introduction to the unit. Lead into your thesis statement (your argument).
✅ Body Paragraphs: Use a minimum of two paragraphs to express a balance between your voice (the student’s) and the unit content.
✅ Multiple sources from the units are used as evidence to substantiate the answer to the essential question.
✅ Sources are clearly cited and clear to a reader not in the class.
✅ There should be a minimum of three different sources from the unit. Different sources represent different pages, different authors, and different media sources. (We should not repeat our sources. This is a way to diversify our evidence from the unit.)
✅ Be brave and connect your heart and mind into your work.
✅ Your Conclusion: Present the unit-inspired conclusion by restating your thesis, summarize the key supporting ideas discussed throughout the work, and offer your final impression. Make it powerful – whatever that means to you.
✅ Your overall submission is cohesive yet simple enough to enlighten a 5th grader.
Download the Ebook
- Exploration of the REDO technique for student self-assessment.
- A criteria checklist for using the REDO technique with students.
- Strategies for offering humanized feedback to students.
- Fabiola’s Ungrading Page and Syllabus by Fabiola Torres
- Ungrading: Why Rating Students Undermines Learning (and What to Do Instead) Edited by Susan D. Blum
- Grading for Equity: What it is, Why it Matters, and How It Can Transform Schools and Classrooms by Joe Feldman
- Teaching To Transgress: Education as the practice of freedom by bell hooks
- Sentipensante (Sensing/Thinking) Pedagogy: Educating for Wholeness, Social Justice and Liberation by Laura I. Rendón
- Hacking Assessment: 10 ways to go grade less in a traditional grade school by Starr Sackstien
- Teaching Students to Self-Assess: How Do I Help Students Reflect and Grow As Learners? by Starr Sackstien
- Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well by Douglas Stone & Sheila Heen