Cult of Pedagogy Search

Could You Teach Without Grades?

Close

Can't find what you are looking for? Contact Us

Teach-No-Grades

 

A few months ago, I started hearing about a new movement, where teachers were giving up traditional grading and finding new ways to measure student learning. This group, launched by education writer Mark Barnes, calls itself Teachers Throwing Out Grades (TTOG) and now has a Facebook group and a weekly Twitter Chat.

When I first became aware of the group, I admired their initiative, but the question that kept nagging at me was HOW? How do you do this, exactly? What does it actually look like? What do you write on the papers, in the gradebook, or do you have one at all? What do you tell parents? How do  you distinguish between the students who are working really hard and the ones who are just coasting?

Starr Sackstein

Starr Sackstein

My answers started coming from someone named Starr Sackstein (@mssackstein), a high school English and journalism teacher whose Education Week blog is called Work in Progress. In her writing, she has documented her journey this school year to abandon traditional grades through blog posts and a series of YouTube videos that feel almost like diary entries.

As I started getting a clearer picture of how the no-grades approach could actually work, I wanted to share it with you, so I invited Starr to talk with me about it. You can listen to our conversation in my newest podcast episode.

 

LISTEN NOW: 

 

Transcript

iTunes

 

Hacking-Assessment

 

Learn more about going gradeless in Starr’s newest book, Hacking Assessment, 10 Ways to Go Gradeless in a Traditional Grades School

You can find Starr’s work on her own blog and her Education Week blog, Work in Progress. Follow her on Twitter at @mssackstein.

 

Other Resources Mentioned in this Episode:

A Repair Kit for Grading: Fifteen Fixes for Broken Grades, by Ken O’Connor

Assessment 3.0: Throw Out Your Grade Book and Inspire Learning, by Mark Barnes

Role Reversal: Achieving Uncommonly Excellent Results in the Student-Centered Classroom, by Mark Barnes

The 5-Minute Teacher: How do I maximize time for learning in my classroom?, by Mark Barnes

Teaching the iStudent: A Quick Guide to Using Mobile Devices and Social Media in the K-12 Classroom, by Mark Barnes

 

[The links above are Amazon affiliate links. When you make a purchase from Amazon through these links, I get a small commission at no extra cost to you.]

 

Stay in touch.
Join my mailing list and never miss another post. You’ll get weekly tips, tools, and inspiration — in quick, bite-sized packages — all geared toward making your teaching more effective and joyful. To thank you, I’ll send you a free copy of my new e-booklet, 20 Ways to Cut Your Grading Time in Half. I look forward to getting to know you better!

 

 

2 Comments

  1. rsiegrist says:

    I am very intrigued by this interview and the concept in general. Is there much discussion on how to foster self-efficacy in students without the incentive of grades in a school culture that places so much emphasis on “the A”? I believe that authentic learning and collaboration certainly cause this self-motivating drive, but where is the causality for kids who don’t thrive even in these environments? Or kids who don’t care about learning OR grades?

    Did Starr provide any information on what her Google forms entailed? I’m interested to understand her protocol a little better.

    Thanks for the post!

    • Hi — If you click on “get transcript” above, you’ll be able to scan through a written transcript of the interview to see exactly what we talked about, or you can listen to the interview through the player above or by going to iTunes (also linked above). I’m sure Starr would be happy to answer any follow-up questions about anything the interview doesn’t cover — visit her blog or tweet her — both links are also above. Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.