Human Restoration Project
54: Making the Switch to Ungrading (feat. Abigail French, Dr. Susan Blum, and Dr. Laura Gibbs)
Today, we're deep diving into ungrading. In episode 5, we looked at the gradeless movement and the pedagogy that surrounds it, and now we're looking at how it's incorporated, and the non-academic benefits of implementing it. To be clear, when I say "ungrading" - I'm referring to the movement away from grades. This doesn't necessarily mean that the class does not issue at grade at all. Typically, this means that grades are as limited as possible, as in one final grade at the end of a year, with opportunities to redo assignments or reach that goal in multiple ways.
Almost every classroom one visits today will have a chart on the syllabus which breaks down grades.
- Homework: 30%
- Tests: 40%
- Classwork: 20%
- Participation: 10%
- With opportunities for extra credit.
First, I don't blame educators for setting things up this way - it's the way it's almost always done. It's the dominant way of thinking about grading. But there are a litany of issues with categorical grades. Does a student who never completes homework really not understand the content, or are they just disobeying instructions to do work at home? If a student never passes a test, but does great in their classwork, are we grading their content knowledge or their anxiety levels?
GUESTS IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE
Abigail French, a veteran public school teacher focusing on sixth grade, whose beginning her journey into ungrading after unrest with the traditional system.
Dr. Susan Blum, an anthropology professor at the University of Notre Dame, author of I Love Learning; I Hate School": An Anthropology of College, who utilizes ungrading in the classroom and is soon publishing a work on gradeless learning.
Dr. Laura Gibbs, a professor at the University of Oklahoma, who teaches mythology and folklore and epics of ancient India . Laura has been teaching these classes online since 2002 which have always been ungraded.
- Alfie Kohn, “Punished by Rewards” (Discussion)
- Monte Syrie, Project 180
- Teachers Going Gradeless
- Dr. Susan Blum’s website
- Cathy Davidson
- Chapter on Ungrading - Laura Gibbs (from Dr. Susan Blum’s upcoming work)
- Dr. Laura Gibbs’ website
- Dr. Laura Gibbs’ Course Page
- Dr. Laura Gibbs’ Feedback/Mindset resources for students
- Dr. Laura Gibbs’ students’ work