17 Ungrading Myths . . . and “What I wish I would’ve known”

This chapter contains a curated list from our ungrading community on Twitter. If you have some myths/misconceptions you’d like to share, please add them to our Google Doc!

Ungrading Myths . . . and “What I wish I would’ve known”

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  • Grades/docked points are the best tool to maintain forward progress in a course
  • Ungraded classes are “lenient”
  • Ungrading means no deadlines
  • Ungrading means no structure or scaffolding
  • The best/only way to make learning happen is to compete for student attention via punitive grading or late policies
  • People remove grades just to brag about it and not because grades are an untested tool that conflicts with our deeply held values

—from a Twitter Thread by @LindsayMasland


  • Removing points, removes compliance

—from a Twitter Thread by @SurthrivEDU


  • One misconception is that “grading” is mandatory. Check your local policies; in Ontario it is only mandatory to provide a final mark in grades 9 and 10; midterm and final in 11 and 12. You may be able to #ungrade and still comply with policy.

—from @TerryWhitmell


  • Ungrading doesn’t mean that we are not reviewing student work; we are. We are reviewing and providing ongoing feedback so we are always reviewing student work, always.

—from @KSukEDUC


  • “Ungrading saves time.” Not always. Sometimes a feedback-focused approach takes more time, depending on how it is given.

—from @ProfBDP


  • That it would change in me in OTHER ways…

—from a Twitter Thread by @ihaveabug


  • One thing I failed to consider when first #ungrading is the depth of influence traditional grading has had on students. So much deprogramming needed that establishes the WHY of #ungrading for those students who may not envision any other alternative. (P.S. Jesse Stommel has an excellent blog post called “Ungrading: an FAQ“).

—from @dbuckedu


  • Ungrading means more work for educators and cannot be done in large courses.

—from @DrRAZimmerman


  • There were many things that surprised me when I fully ungraded my first course. Mostly, I wish I had known that students really do work harder without grades, and I wish I would have known the brave choices they feel free to make when they know they are not being graded.

—from @cleander


—from @dccmath


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Crowdsourcing Ungrading Copyright © 2020 by David Buck is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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