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Ungrading as Liberatory Education


A faculty is having a discussion with 5 college students in a classroom

In Ungrading as a Form of Access, Equality in the Classroom, Mowreader (2023) describes how Professor Sue Steiner from California State University, Chico, implemented "ungrading" in her graduate-level courses to address "subjectivity and inequality" in grading.

This involved removing all point values from assignments, attendance, and group projects, and focusing on giving detailed feedback to students.


At the end of the semester, students self-assessed and gave themselves a letter grade based on their work. Steiner taught two semesters of graduate courses with about 20 students in each session.

Steiner found that ungrading enabled students to focus on their learning without the pressure of grades. She also asserts this approach improved student outcomes and teacher-student relationships. Students also reported that they felt less stressed, took more risks in their assignments, and submitted higher quality work.


Based on her experiences, Steiner believes that ungrading can and should be applied to any undergraduate-level class, with the primary goal to be to connect with students about their learning.

Three faculty members in Steiner's department, including herself, are currently ungrading, and four more will join them next semester.


Read the full article by Ashley Mowreader on Inside Higher Education (Published April 11, 2023.


Mowreader, A. (2023). Why ungrading creates equity in courses. Inside Higher Ed | Higher Education News, Events and Jobs. https://www.insidehighered.com/news/student-success/academic-life/2023/04/11/ungrading-form-access-equality-classroom


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