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Open Pedagogy: Ungrading

November 11, 2021 @ 4:00 pm 5:00 pm

Please RSVP by commenting on this post. Please share this invitation with your colleagues!

As higher education continues to demand rigor and productivity from its workers and students, we’re concerned with how institutional policies can better engage the material realities of many in the CUNY community. Difficulties in the classroom are compounded by ongoing investment in a “back-to-normal” paradigm that doesn’t typically address grief, poverty, illness, and exhaustion from demands for productivity. There are no easy answers, especially when so much of the current predicament is outside of our control. 

Ungrading and its accompanying strategies potentially offer one way to mitigate harm. Ungrading is essentially student-centered and student-led, demanding that we engage critically with the power dynamics of the classroom. By incorporating grading policies that center students’ goals, hold space for critical self-reflection, and value the process of learning over a product, we can practice equity in our evaluation criteria.

In this event we will consider the following questions:

  • Borrowed from Kathleen Alves: Why do teachers grade? How does it feel to be graded? What do you want grading to do for you? Consider as a student and as an instructor.
  • Grading has been criticized for rewarding the performance of knowledge over the process of developing knowledge. What strategies can we use to redirect the focus?
  • Grades has also been shown to reward students who have educational, class, racial/ethnic, and language privilege and penalize students without these resources. How do we as faculty challenge our own racist, ableist beliefs about how students *should* behave and perform?

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