Guidance and help, Setting the tone activities

Alternative Approaches to Grading

Consider different approaches to grading and how they can affect the classroom atmosphere and more!

Click on the CC icon in the bottom right corner of the video to turn on closed captions.  

Alternative Approaches to Grading
Educator prep: High
Student prep: None
Synchronousor Asynchronous
No tech needed
Duration: Variable

Activity purpose

Consider different approaches to grading and how they can affect the classroom atmosphere and more!

Useful for

Giving students agency over their learning and removing competition among students and the stress of grades on students and teachers.


Lots. Think carefully about what your underlying values are and how you can make them work within your institutional constraints; think about how much you can involve students in the process and have those conversations with them.


Watch the video above for practical tips, or check out the resources for several different alternative approaches. Arley Cruthers’ infographics are a good visual introduction; the podcast with Jesse Stommel, Asao Inoue and Maha Bali is a good auditory intro; and the blogposts by Jesse Stommel, Alfie Kohn and Munir Fasheh are a good starting point. If you’re up for a longer read, we suggest Asao Inoue’s books and the edited volume by Susan D. Blum. 


Variable depending how you plan to implement it.

Adaptations and examples

You can do it for an entire course, or parts of a course.

Technical requirements


Useful resources

More 'Guidance and help' activities:
Equity Unbound Activity
Office Hour Scheduling via Google Calendar
Particularly helpful to facilitate the scheduling of office hours with students for teachers who need to meet students individually in short timeslots.
Fikry Boutros
Equity Unbound Activity
Cognitive/exam Wrappers for Metacognition
Help students reflect on their exam/assessment performance in order to improve future performance in your course.
Maha Bali
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Self-assessment Tool (of social justice in your teaching) from DISCs (Disciplines Inquiring into Societal Challenges)
Gauge your level of competence and comfort in the themes of gender-consciousness, interculturalism, and community, both in their individual pedagogical practices and wider academic engagements.
Maha Bali

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