Specifications Grading: Restoring Rigor, Motivating Students, and Saving Faculty Time
Colleges and universities generally require that you submit letter grades to represent student performance, but how you determine those grades is up to you. Unfortunately, the way we have been grading student work for many decades earns low marks on a list of 14 criteria for assessing grading systems. This keynote presents an alternative system, specifications ("specs") grading, that does better, especially in motivating students to achieve outcomes and produce high-quality work. Better yet, it saves you time. The system works effectively because it gives students more choices and control while holding their work to high academic standards. The purest form of this new system offers a new gestalt on assessment, combining three elements: satisfactory/unsatisfactory grading of all assignments and tests, a token system that lets students "buy" flexibility, and "bundles" of assessments associated with sets of learning outcomes and final letter grades. By the end of this keynote, you will be able adapt one or more of your courses to a pure or synthetic version of specs grading and revise your syllabus accordingly.