In her latest book Linda Nilson puts forward an innovative but practical and tested approach to grading that can demonstrably raise academic standards, motivate students, tie their achievement of learning outcomes to their course grades, save faculty time and stress, and provide the reliable gauge of student learning that the public and employers are looking for. She argues that the grading system most commonly in use now is unwieldy, imprecise and unnecessarily complex, involving too many rating levels for too many individual assignments and tests, and based on a hairsplitting point structure that obscures the underlying criteria and encourages students to challenge their grades. This new specifications grading paradigm restructures assessments to streamline the grading process and greatly reduce grading time, empower students to choose the level of attainment they want to achieve, reduce antagonism between the evaluator and the evaluated, and increase student receptivity to meaningful feedback, thus facilitating the learning process - all while upholding rigor. In addition, specs grading increases students' motivation to do well by making expectations clear, lowering their stress and giving them agency in determining their course goals. Among the unique characteristics of the schema, all of which simplify faculty decision making, are the elimination of partial credit, the reliance on a one-level grading rubric and the "bundling" of assignments and tests around learning outcomes. Successfully completing more challenging bundles (or modules) earns a student a higher course grade. Specs grading works equally well in small and large class settings and encourages "authentic assessment." Used consistently over time, it can restore credibility to grades by demonstrating and making transparent to all stakeholders the learning outcomes that students achieve. This book features many examples of courses that faculty have adapted to spec grading and lays out the surprisingly simple transition process. It is intended for all members of higher education who teach, whatever the discipline and regardless of rank, as well as those who oversee, train, and advise those who teach.
The WAC Clearinghouse; University Press of Colorado. https://doi.org/10.37514/PER-B.2019.0216.0
In Labor-Based Grading Contracts, Asao B. Inoue argues for the use of labor-based grading contracts along with compassionate practices to determine course grades as a way to do social justice work with students. He frames this practice by considering how Freirean problem-posing led him to experiment with grading contracts and explore the literature on grading contracts. Inoue offers a robust Marxian theory of labor that considers Hannah Arendt's theory of labor-work-action and Barbara Adam's concept of "timescapes." The heart of the book details the theoretical and practical ways labor-based grading contracts can be used and assessed for effectiveness in classrooms and programs. Inoue concludes the book by moving outside the classroom, considering how assessing writing in the socially just ways he offers in the book may provide a way to address the violence and discord seen in the world today.
College Composition and Communication. 3.
Retrieved from https://scholarworks.umass.edu/eng_faculty_pubs/3
At the end of every semester or term, most teachers must send the registrar a grade—a one-dimensional quantitative score—to represent the quality of each student's performance in a course. In this essay we are suggesting a way to produce these grades that improves learning and teaching. We seek not only to help students learn more and function better as learners; we also want a grading system that encourages them to be the kind of persons our world needs; furthermore, we want to make our own teaching easier and more satisfying. That's all.