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

Assessment Learning Network, March 2, 2021

The 2020-21 ALN sessions will explore implications for teaching and assessing in virtual environments. As educators and students embrace the responsibility to impact learning in new distance, virtual, and hybrid environments necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, we will amplify and enhance what we know about good assessment practice and its ability to support learning.


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

Despite our deepest commitment to equity, many of our current grading practices are artifacts of the Industrial Revolution and actually undermine effective teaching and perpetuate achievement disparities. Equitable grading and assessment are particularly relevant during the pandemic, and how school and district leaders can support more consistent, equitable grading practices.

The session will examine current grading practices, provide an introduction to equitable grading practices, describe the quantitative and qualitative data describing the impact of current grading practices on historically underserved students.


Framing questions

  • What is the genesis of our grading, and what is the conflict between traditional grading and our contemporary beliefs about teaching, learning, and equity?
  • What opportunities have emerged to accelerate letting go of traditionally inequitable grading practices in favor of using equitable grading practices in virtual or hybrid school environments?
  • What is the framework for equitable grading? What are examples of specific equitable grading practices?
  • How do more equitable grading and assessment practices improve achievement outcomes, strengthen teacher-student relationships, motivate and empower students, reduce stress, and align our grading with our beliefs and purpose as educators?

Presenter: Joe Feldman

The session features, Joe Feldman, author of Grading for Equity, published by Corwin; and will include practitioners experienced with implementing equitable grading practices. Feldman is the CEO of Crescendo Education Group. Readers can find his work in Education Week, Kappan, Education Leadership, District Administrator and Black Press USA.

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