Edtech in the Gradeless Classroom: Google Keep

"To one with a hammer, everything looks like a nail." This adage reveals the power tools have to shape our perceptions. What does this mean for the tools we use in the classroom? If using a hammer pushes me to see nails wherever I look, how is the grade book software on my computer influencing … Continue reading Edtech in the Gradeless Classroom: Google Keep

Now’s the Time For You to Shine

Summer sat across from me, apologizing. “I had to change my goals a little.” I smiled, delighted to hear that she had been reflecting on her goals, and urged her to continue talking. “I had intended to write a short story and work on character development,” Summer continued, “But I decided to focus more on … Continue reading Now’s the Time For You to Shine

20 Years Gradeless: Having My Cake and Eating It Too

The divide between teaching and learning and traditional assessment is real. Many of us think about the relationships we could develop and the authentic learning students could engage in if only we removed could grades. I'm here to tell you how the gradeless classroom can be more than an "if only..." fantasy. Instead of being … Continue reading 20 Years Gradeless: Having My Cake and Eating It Too

Using Self-assessment Letters for a Conversational Evaluation

Breaking the monopoly of evaluation In the interest of supporting the autonomy of our students, we should seek every opportunity to place students "behind the wheel" of their own learning (see Ike Shibley's "Putting Students in the Driver Seat"). This issue becomes particularly sensitive when it comes to evaluation. We know what a powerful learning … Continue reading Using Self-assessment Letters for a Conversational Evaluation

Explode These Feedback Myths and Get Your Life Back

When asked what recommendations they would give teachers to improve feedback…students claimed to want more, and more useful, responses to their writing. A wide majority — 87% — rated as “important” or “very important” the advice that teachers give more detailed feedback on papers. — Harvard Study of Undergraduate Writing That’ll do, Harvard Study of Undergraduate Writing, that’ll do. I … Continue reading Explode These Feedback Myths and Get Your Life Back

Creating a Culture of Feedback

In order to be effective, feedback must be relevant, meaningful, specific, frequent, and time-bound. Feedback helps students move forward, question, and grow as learners. If teachers are providing feedback on every piece of student writing, students are not writing enough. Besides, both Jennifer Gonzalez and Starr Stackstein claim when feedback is only offered at the end of … Continue reading Creating a Culture of Feedback

Teachers Going Gradeless

This post is crossposted on Medium and was also published in the New York Observer. After years of teaching using the principles of standards-based learning and grading, I encountered two findings that radically changed my perspective on assessment, grading, and reporting. The first finding comes from Ruth Butler (1988, as cited in Wiliam 2011) regarding feedback. … Continue reading Teachers Going Gradeless