Discover the power of going gradeless

Ungrading is a growing movement in K–12 classrooms. It means that teachers don't give students letter or number grades for their work; instead, they give feedback that helps students understand what is being taught and what they know.

Proponents of ungrading say that it can improve student motivation and achievement by providing a supportive and positive classroom environment. The practice gives students more accurate feedback on their work, encourages them to take charge of their learning, and helps prepare them for college and the workforce.

Click image to learn more about ungrading

Eliminating traditional grades can reduce stress and anxiety in students who are not confident in math or reading because it allows them to gain more control over their learning. It can also help students assess their work by giving them feedback on what they do well and where they need to improve.

Ungrading can help prepare students for college and the workforce by showing them how to become more independent and motivated learners.

Start with the Why

If you're looking to de-emphasize traditional grades and encourage learning for learning's sake, rather than for the extrinsic reward or punishment of a number or letter grade, the best way to begin is to explain the Why of ungrading to students and colleagues. 

Talk about the harmful effects of grades and how feedback, reflection, and self-assessment will help learners care more about the process and final product than about any subjective label they might receive based on a teacher's judgment.

Teach self-assessment

Ungrading can help prepare students for college and the workforce by showing them how to become more independent and motivated learners.

In ungraded classrooms, teachers give frequent written feedback that helps students understand what they are being taught. The key, according to Starr Sackstein, author of Hacking Assessment, is to conduct ongoing conversations with students about their learning and help them reflect on their work, ask good questions, and iterate until teacher and student believe objectives have been mastered.

"Show them an example of a reflection that exhibits mastery," Sackstein says. "Nothing works better than showing a child what the expectation is, so allow students to read a good reflection and discuss what they notice with their groups."

Ungrading is growing in popularity. Teachers and learners are realizing that learning is more impactful when it is not solely focused on getting a grade. Try going gradeless, and let us know how it goes in the comments, or drop us a line on Twitter.

Blog photo by Ann H from Pexels

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