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Why I Don’t Grade | Jesse Stommel

Tags: Assessment grading #mvifishares

  • shared by Meghan Cureton
  • grades are the biggest and most insidious obstacle to education.
  • Agency, dialogue, self-actualization, and social justice are not possible in a hierarchical system that pits teachers against students and encourages competition by ranking students against one another.
  • Certainly, metacognition, and the ability to self-assess, must be developed, but I see it as one of the most important skills we can teach in any educational environment.
  • You should consider this course a “busy-work-free zone.” If an assignment does not feel productive, we can find ways to modify, remix, or repurpose the instructions.
  • I find it strange that teachers and institutions would pre-determine outcomes before students even arrive upon the scene.
  • As educators, we have helped build (or are complicit in) a system that creates a great deal of pressure around grades. We shouldn’t blame (or worse, degrade) students for the failures of that system.
  • Authentic feedback (and evaluation) means honoring subjectivity and requires that we show up as our full selves, both teachers and learners, to the work of education. Grades can’t be “normed” if we recognize the complexity of learners and learning contexts. Bias can’t be accounted for unless we acknowledge it.
  • Because I put myself outside of the grading loop, I can focus all my efforts on feedback and encouragement — on teaching, not grading.” Which leads me to wonder whether “graded participation” is actually an oxymoron. We can’t participate authentically, can’t dialogue, without first disrupting the power dynamics of grading.
  • “Research shows three reliable effects when students are graded: They tend to think less deeply, avoid taking risks, and lose interest in the learning itself.”
  • “There is an extreme mismatch between what we value and how we count.”
  • a mixture of things assessed and a mixture of kinds of assessment, because the work of being a doctor (or engineer, sociologist, teacher, etc.) is sufficiently complex that any one system of measurement or indicator of supposed mastery will necessarily fail.
  • “When the how’s of assessment preoccupy us, they tend to chase the why’s back into the shadows.” Grades are not something we should have ever allowed to be naturalized. Assessment should be, by its nature, an open question.

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