Transform Learning by Going “Gradeless”

This session would allow teachers to learn more about how to transform their classroom by reducing the volume of number and letter grades communicated to students and parents, whilst providing feedback and means for reflecting on feedback that will allow students to improve their performance in a subject, encourage them to take creative and intellectual risks, and reduce the levels of stress that students feel with regard to their grades or achievement levels.   The session would discuss a bit of the research that has been done on processes and outcomes surrounding gradeless feedback, identify desired outcomes for students in a gradeless classroom, and trial methods (including useful apps that can be used to provide video or audio feedback, and that students can use for their own reflections on their feedback). Time can be spent on peer coaching among participants to share best practice in providing feedback and encouraging student reflection.

Session Audience 

Middle & High School 

Session Goals 

Participants will understand some of the background research to gradeless approaches to sharing feedback with students; learn practical methods to provide gradeless feedback in a format that will allow students to reflect on it and make use of it; and appreciate the positive impacts on learning that would include improvements in performance, increases in academic and creative risks on tasks, and reduction in student stress.

Outcomes 

  • create resources that can be used the next day with students to provide feedback

  • explore apps that can be used to creatively share feedback in a variety of formats with students and parents, and that students can use to create their own reflections on their work.

About Erin

As a child I was always interested in science–I was constantly asking how things worked and why.  That curiosity continued to grow as I did, and I ultimately followed courses of study in biology and biochemistry, earning a Ph. D. in the latter.  Fortunately for me, my mentors always emphasized the importance of creativity, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration in scientific advancement.     

After spending a year as a postdoctoral fellow in a research lab in Munich, I came to realize that my favorite days as a postdoc, a graduate student, and a technician, were the days that I taught a student something new.  So I decided to leave the research lab, and I have now built a career out of those great days.

I am currently teaching IB Diploma Program biology, chemistry, and Theory of Knowledge, and Middle Years Program sciences.  My classroom is a space where students can take chances, so that they will learn to be creative and critical thinkers, effective investigators, and good scientific communicators.