Reflections on an ungrading experiment: What worked, what did not

“Seven years ago,” writes Robert Talbert, “I made a snap decision to walk away from traditional grading.” Frustrated with the failure of traditional grades and the “game of grade grubbing” they created, Talbert drew on methods such as a two-level rubric, extensive feedback, and self-evaluation for a Modern Algebra class. Ungrading the course resulted in a better relationship between the instructor and students and saw fewer students framing their work in terms of “what the prof is looking for” rather than intrinsic value. However, the author noted that ungrading had its downsides, such as having more limited benefits for students without self-reflection skills and possibly increasing equity gaps. Talbert concludes by noting that ungrading is a tool rather than a logical end point for evaluation, and encourages the use of evaluative measures that keep student growth at the centre. Inside Higher Ed Note: Archived stories may contain dead links or be missing source links.

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