My “Gradeless” Bookshelf

I’ve been hearing many requests for my list of books that inspired my research.  Here are some of the books I’ve been sharing with my teaching colleagues, to support them in their shift in assessment:

Rethinking Letter Grades

Caren Cameron and Kathleen Gregory (2014)

Rethinking Letter Grades Cover

This concise (64 pages!) book bridges assessment FOR learning to assessment OF learning, to guide teachers to determine a letter grade based upon evidence of learning that is linked to learning standards.

Hacking Assessment – 10 Ways to Go Gradeless In a Traditional Grades School

Starr Sackstein (2015)

The inspiration for many of my research subjects to make the move, these ten “hacks” include practical advice for teachers:

  1. Hacking-Assessment-eBook-cover-683x1024Shift the Grades Mindset – Start a no-grades classroom
  2. Promote Buy-In – Open lines of communication with stakeholders
  3. Rebrand Assignments as Learning Experiences – Design comprehensive projects for optimal growth
  4. Facilitate Student Partnerships – Work smarter, not harder
  5. Digitize Your Data – Ease data collection and inform learning with technology
  6. Maximize Time – Confer inside and outside of class
  7. Track Progress Transparently – Discard your traditional gradebook
  8. Teach Reflection – Help students become better learners with metacognition
  9. Teach Students to Self-Grade – Put the power of grading into students’ hands
  10. Cloud-Based Archives – Transition to portfolio assessment

What we Know About Grading – What Works, What Doesn’t, and What’s Next

Thomas R. Guskey & Susan M. Brookhart (2019)

For teachers who can’t yet make the shift completely away from grades, this collection of essays reviews research, and supports teachers to:

What we know 2

              • Start with clear learning goals,
              • Focus on the feedback function of grades,
              • Limit the number of grade categories, and
              • Provide multiple grades that reflect product, process, and progress criteria.

Assessment 3.0 – Throw Out Your Grade Book and Inspire Learning

Mark Barnes (2015)

Challenge the barriers of policy, report cards, parental expectations, and tradition with Assessment Barnes coveran assessment process of SE2R: Summarize, Explain, Redirect and Resubmit:

  1. Summarize:  One or two sentences to describe what has been accomplished, and form the basis for narrative feedback.
  2. Explain: Connect evidence of learning to learning goals, targets, expectations or standards
  3. Redirect: Identify action necessary to meet learning goals.
  4. Resubmit: Cycle back to step #1.

Note:  This can be done by student, teacher or peers.

Visible Learning Feedback

John Hattie and Shirley Clarke (2019)

visible-learning-feedback-book-shirley-clarke-john-hattie-2018-250x353A key component of “going gradeless” is rich, descriptive feedback. This book examines the need for feedback to be aligned with the stages of the learning cycle:

                1. Surface knowledge
                2. Linking ideas
                3. Extending ideas

Grading for Equity – What It Is, Why It Matters, and How It Can Transform Schools and Classrooms

Joe Feldman (2019)grading for equity

And finally, the “WHY” of assessment reform: Equity. If you must use grades (as most policy currently demands), do it with practices that are mathematically accurate, value knowledge, support hope and a growth mindset, and empower our learners.

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