How do your grading practices impact your students? Research shows that not all grading practices motivate student learning. In fact, some practices have the opposite effect. For example, grade curving: did you know grade curving demotivates students? Goergia Tech students have said that grade curving promotes stress, cheating, competition, and even apathy Students feel there is little room to ever fail and that if they do, their grade is unlikely to recover. Additionally, feedback regarding the curve does not come in early enough for students to determine whether or not they should drop the class.
While curving is a common problematic grading practice, it isn’t the only one. However, equitable grading practices that are mathematically accurate, resistant to bias, and motivating to students to achieve academic growth and success can refocus students on learning, not just the grade. Many instructors wish to apply these principles in their teaching, but it can be difficult to determine how to do so, leaving faculty to wonder how to be both fair and rigorous when grading.
These topics will be further explored in the Center for Teaching and Learning workshop, Grading: Are Both Equity and Rigor Possible? Participants will ponder common grading approaches through the lens of equity to identify opportunities to restore some compassion to the grading process while still using grades to accurately reflect student learning. The primary goals of the workshop are to help instructors to consider why they use their grading style compared to available alternatives, understand grades in the context of how they affect the motivation, learning, and well-being of their students, and develop an awareness of equitable versus non-equitable grading strategies.