Why It’s Time to Give Up Grades?

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Desert scene – La Quinta, Coachella Valley, Southern California

 

I have been struggling with justifying grades for years. What do they really tell us? I would love to begin the semester by granting all students a flat 85HD, which they have to defend. They would sign a learning contract. Their mark would go up or down based on engagement and performance. For more see: Why It’s Time to Give Up Grades

Blow my socks off

Well, blow my socks off – student feedback on my feedback for their second assignments has been wholly positive and flattering. Something must be working right. However…..

Assessment of student feedback/reflection can lead to ‘sun-shining’ = ‘use key words they think are required and downplay any negative aspects’ (source: Twitter: Colin Warren@colwar Nov 25)

Two issues: how to avoid this; secondly, is there evidence that this is what is really occurring? Either way, here is a possible solution:

I give them 20/20 for reflection regardless, as long as there is sufficient reflection. I encourage them to disagree with my feedback if they really do disagree with it and that their mark will not be diminished if they do so – they just need to give me an argument in which they try to persuade me. I may be persuaded or may not, but at least I will try to be fair-minded. If students disagree with my feedback, I will give further feedback again. If I am persuaded by feedback that disagrees with my assessment, I will consider adjusting the mark. Either way, a critical dialogue will have occurred in which the student has to adopt a meta-critical position: taking a critical stance on someone’s critical feedback. What say you, dear reader? There is a comments box