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Grading, feedback, assessment, and evaluation are all part of the instructional package, yet it appears to be grading that brings out the strongest reaction among instructors and remains a constant concern for students, instructors, and administrators. Are we grading properly? Are we too soft on students with our grading or too rigid? There seems to be very little in the way of a uniform approach when it comes to grading across educational institutes. One response to this dilemma has been a movement toward “ungrading,” a practice that attempts to sidestep the demand to rate students against each other and replace it something more reflective of student learning and achievement. Advocates for ungrading have argued for taking grading out of the discourse of the class environment to focus on the more substantive learning opportunities provided by feedback, reflective practice, and meta-learning. Join your FLO facilitator, Dave Smulders, as he explores this topic! This session highlights his experiences with incorporating ungrading in a third-year university course at the University of British Columbia, with all the joy and disappointment that comes with experimentation on such a contentious subject. Ungrading, in his view, does not mean getting rid of the final letter or number attributed to students at the end of a course but rather de-centering the importance of that final grade in favour of encouraging students to take more responsibility for their learning as well as the learning of their fellow classmates. Come ready to share your ungrading stories or questions!
Dave Smulders (he/him/his) Dave Smulders has been an instructional designer and teacher in a variety of capacities, both in B.C. and abroad, for almost 30 years. He teaches adult education courses in the Department of Educational Studies at the University of British Columbia and was the recipient of the Faculty of Education Sessional and Lecturer Teaching Prize in 2016. He is also a program manager of faculty development at the Justice Institute of British Columbia. In both roles, his work involves collaborating with students and faculty to strengthen the connection between teaching and learning.
Ungrading Unpacked Slides (PDF)