Research shows that grades are often not a good reflection of student learning and growth, and that being graded can be stressful for students. In addition, many traditional grading practices can exacerbate existing academic inequalities. We encourage faculty to design assessments that directly support student learning first, with their evaluative role considered secondarily.
We have compiled some options for creating assessment activities and policies which are learning-focused, while also being equitable and compassionate. The suggestions are loosely grouped by expected faculty time commitment. Many suggest ways faculty can provide students with skills practice, feedback on their performance, and opportunities for reflection on their learning processes and growth. In all cases, the suggestions below assume some course design fundamentals including assessments aligned with course learning objectives.