“Only by abandoning traditional grading and performance assessment practices can we achieve our ultimate educational objectives.” -Alfie Kohn, 1994


assessment - A collection of information about student learning (Green 1998) that happens with and for students **rather than to them. Assessments allow instructors to understand students’ progress; with meaningful feedback, they help students improve and achieve the goals of the course.

formative assessment - This type of assessment takes place throughout a course and is low-stakes or not graded. These learning check-ins, leveraging formal and informal feedback, help students and instructors understand where additional support or work is needed. In Classics, this can include brief learning activities like in-class writing assignments or small group work, or out of class activities like project proposals, peer evaluations, and test corrections.

summative assessment - This type of assessment represents what we (and our students!) often think of when we hear ‘assessment.’ These usually take place at the conclusion of a module or course to evaluate total learning by comparing student performance against some standard. They tend to be high stakes and to make up a significant part of a student’s grade. Common summative assessments include exams and final papers.

labor-based grading (LBG) - (AKA, contract grading) Grading in which students earn a predetermined and pre-communicated set of points for completion of assignments. At the beginning of the semester, instructors, sometimes in dialogue with students, determine the points allotted for each assignment, the minimum requirements for credit, and the total points available over the course of the semester (i.e., the “contract”). If students complete the requirements for a given assignment, they earn the full number of points available, even if there are errors. In other words, students earn points for completing and submitting assignments rather than on the extent to which the final product is error-free or matches the instructor’s model outcome.

ungrading - Any assessment plan that decenters the action of the instructor assigning evaluative grades to student work. Although ungrading looks different in different classrooms, generally ungraded assessment plans prioritize formative feedback, metacognitive reflection on learning, and student-centered assignments.

Links to Teaching Resources We Love

For More on Ungrading

How to Ungrade

For More on Labor-Based Contract Grading

Labor-Based Grading Resources

Sample Syllabi and Other Resources

Labor-Based Grading - Beginning Latin

Labor-Based Grading - Roman History

Labor-Based Grading - Self-Reflection Prompts

Ungrading - Intermediate Latin

Ungrading - Beginning Latin

Ungrading - Beginning Greek

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