Can We Improve Grading by Collaborating with Students?

What is wrong with grades?

Instructors and students have different ideas about what grades are supposed to measure: Should they be about how much students have learned? How much work they have completed? How well they have mastered the subject? (Arguably, they measure none of these well.) Grades can perpetuate bias, inequalities, and injustice, reduce student motivation and willingness to challenge themselves, and add enormous administrative burdens. No wonder many students and faculty dislike grades!

However, grades are not going away as a tool for evaluation, sorting, and gatekeeping by institutions and employers, and as a measure of success by students. But there is literature on how to adapt the grading process to avoid the drawbacks above, and improve student motivation and engagement, as well as instructor satisfaction. They go by names such as curving, ungrading, contract grading, and specifications grading.

In 2022, I experimented with

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Engaging Students in Research | Faculty Focus

Students’ experiences in higher education goes far beyond the curriculum in their programs. Beyond the classroom walls there are extra-curricular and social activities and numerous other opportunities to gain unique skills and experiences. One such opportunity is for students to become involved in research. This could be in the form of a paid research assistantship (RA), volunteering in a research lab, or by completing an independent project (out of general interest or as a thesis requirement). An additional opportunity to involve students in research could be by embedding it directly into the curriculum via course-based research. The types of research-related opportunities available to students will differ based on the type of institution (interested readers may refer to our previous article, “Writing Your First Grant,” (Cappon & Kennette, 2022) for tips to secure some funding). There may be more opportunities at a research-focused university than a community college or a school

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Disability as a Valuable Form of Diversity, Not a Deficit – Faculty Focus

Typically, educational professionals focus on how to help students better access what is considered ‘typical’ learning (Ong-Dean, 2005). This is considered ‘deficit thinking,’ or thinking that defines a diagnosis by its challenges, in order to treat, fix, or minimize specific features of a student’s disability. This kind of approach to education is challenging for autistic students. This article will explore how educators can move away from this kind of pathological approach to better help autistic students succeed academically.

Positionality statement

While I bring a dynamic perspective to this article due to my professional experiences (former special educator and special education administrator; current assistant professor of Disability Studies and Special Education) and personal identity markers (white, disabled, cisgender female), it should be noted that I am not autistic and therefore am presenting this from a biased, non-autistic lens. I acknowledge that I may reference ‘experts’ that autistic individuals

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