Throwing Out Your Gradebook


Today I’m moving on to Hack #7 in Starr Sackstein’s book titled Hacking Assessment: 10 Ways to Go Gradeless, which focuses on how to be more transparent with students and their learning. Starr suggests that gradebooks are often used by teachers to privately track student work, and students only see a small fraction of the information.

In my experiences with student information systems and gradebooks, they are built to report grades to students and parents through a portal. Online gradebooks typically don’t have the facilities for teachers to provide meaningful feedback (anecdotal and hard data) to students about their learning; it’s all about the points, letter grades and GPA. Star suggests ditching the gradebook and using a Google Doc to track progress, and I think it’s a fantastic idea. What better way to increase transparency that would actually provide value to the student’s learning and growth.

I feel like this is where the rubber really meets the road regarding going gradeless, because parents, administrators and students will immediately be concerned about how they’ll get their GPA for college and so on and so forth. There are strategies in this book to deal with this concern. This concept is very intriquing to me, and I really like Starr’s recommendation that students would also be part of tracking their feedback and progress too; this sounds like an opportunity for the teacher to possibly save a wee bit of time!

Share your thoughts and experience #hackingassessment!

Author: chadmaxa

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