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45 – How I Stopped Grading and What I Learned


Sarita Shukla, School of Educational Studies, UW Bothell


Grading is ubiquitous in academia and the notion of ungrading is counterintuitive in that it centers student agency and critical consciousness with regards to grades that students earn. Engaging with student work rather than going through the motions is at the heart of ungrading (Stommel, 2018; Morris & Stommel, 2018). I therefore decided to put ungrading in practice during autumn 2019 in my undergraduate education class of 47 students. In this class, students completed entry/exit tickets using an online tool (padlet). In past quarters, I would assess each students’ padlet tickets for each of the class sessions. This put the instructor in the driver seat who doled out grades and made students the passive recipient of grades. The need for a grading strategy that involves students and is meaningful to them while also not taking exponential amount of time led to this shift.

Students still completed padlet entry/exit tickets for each class session; however, they used these tickets to assign themselves a grade via an end-of-quarter self-assessment of learning. Students self-reflected on their growth using the learning objectives from the course as a basis for their score and provided evidence from their tickets to support their self-assessment. This self-assessment formed the basis of the score that students earned. It is important to note that students were provided with multiple opportunities to self-assess and grade own and peer contributions to classroom tasks throughout the quarter. Although I provided input to the final self-assessment score, the scaffolding set students up for evaluating their work. In addition to the why and how of ungrading, the poster will also explicate important takeaways and students’ feedback. I have applied ungrading in an undergraduate education class but think that this practice holds merit and might be helpful for colleagues across areas of study.