Weyers, M. Going gradeless: Student self-assessment in PBL. (2016). Edutopia. Retreived from:
In this short article Matt Meyer explains his positive experience with going “gradeless” in his 6th grade PBL class. Meyer’s was inspired to try this new method after reading about Mark Barnes’ ideas of using narrative feedback rather than grades to affect mastery of specific learning targets within a larger project context. Meyers describes his intention to promote learning, increase student’s ability to metacognitively assess their own work against a set of standards. He details the plan to keep parents and administration in the loop as well as using Mastery Connect for formative assessments on a weekly basis. Results include students asking in a continuous flood of emails “what can I do better?”
While at the time of writing this article, Meyers had only been trying this method for less than a quarter but his enthusiasm at his student’s engagement in the process is definitely exciting and contagious. This article lays out a simple, but powerfully effective plan to begin getting students more engaged in learning. It also offers a breakdown of conferencing with students to find out what they believe they did well or need to do better. This system encourages deeper metacognitive thinking than doing work for a grade. While the idea of “gradeless” classes seems extreme and makes most teachers, administrators and parents extremely nervous, this article shows how incorporating self-assessment into larger units can benefit learning in the classroom.