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    Rights statement: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Further and Higher Education on 26/06/2020, available online: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/0309877X.2019.1619073

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The promise and pitfalls of gradeless learning: responses to an alternative approach to grading

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The promise and pitfalls of gradeless learning : responses to an alternative approach to grading. / McMorran, Chris; Ragupathi, Kiruthika.

In: Journal of Further and Higher Education, Vol. 44, No. 7, 10.08.2020, p. 925–938.

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McMorran, Chris ; Ragupathi, Kiruthika. / The promise and pitfalls of gradeless learning : responses to an alternative approach to grading. In: Journal of Further and Higher Education. 2020 ; Vol. 44, No. 7. pp. 925–938.

Bibtex

@article{6d6d56d02ed4405f9614a2ab935d2e84,
title = "The promise and pitfalls of gradeless learning: responses to an alternative approach to grading",
abstract = "This paper examines an alternative approach to grading at a public university in Singapore. Beginning in 2014, all incoming students were given a {\textquoteleft}grade-free{\textquoteright} period of assessment. This was designed to give new students time to adjust to university life and to inspire students to approach their learning free from the worry of grades. Similar to pass/ fail systems elsewhere around the world, this example of what we call {\textquoteleft}gradeless learning{\textquoteright} reflects long-term national aims of reducing society{\textquoteright}s emphasis on the letter- and number-based grades and developing a country of lifelong learners. This paper shares student and faculty reaction to the alternative approach to grading, through four surveys conducted during the 18 months following its implementation. Over 3000 responses from students and nearly 500 responses from faculty reveal both groups recognise the potential of gradeless learning to positively impact student learning and well-being, by helping students adjust to university life and encouraging them to take more academic risks without worrying about grades. However, both groups cite problems with gradeless learning, namely poor learning attitudes and behaviours,which arise when grades can no longer be relied on to motivate learning. Faculty members, in particular, feel frustrated by their lack of an active role in this alternative approach to grading, which was designed exclusively to benefit students. This study suggests that the success of gradeless learning anywhere requires the support of faculty partners, who must be integral in developing pedagogical innovations that can help de-emphasise grades as a way to motivate and measure learning.",
keywords = "grades, gradeless learning, stress, well-being, motivation",
author = "Chris McMorran and Kiruthika Ragupathi",
note = "This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Further and Higher Education on 26/06/2020, available online: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/0309877X.2019.1619073",
year = "2020",
month = aug,
day = "10",
doi = "10.1080/0309877X.2019.1619073",
language = "English",
volume = "44",
pages = "925–938",
journal = "Journal of Further and Higher Education",
issn = "0309-877X",
publisher = "Routledge",
number = "7",

}

RIS

TY - JOUR

T1 - The promise and pitfalls of gradeless learning

T2 - responses to an alternative approach to grading

AU - McMorran, Chris

AU - Ragupathi, Kiruthika

N1 - This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Further and Higher Education on 26/06/2020, available online: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/0309877X.2019.1619073

PY - 2020/8/10

Y1 - 2020/8/10

N2 - This paper examines an alternative approach to grading at a public university in Singapore. Beginning in 2014, all incoming students were given a ‘grade-free’ period of assessment. This was designed to give new students time to adjust to university life and to inspire students to approach their learning free from the worry of grades. Similar to pass/ fail systems elsewhere around the world, this example of what we call ‘gradeless learning’ reflects long-term national aims of reducing society’s emphasis on the letter- and number-based grades and developing a country of lifelong learners. This paper shares student and faculty reaction to the alternative approach to grading, through four surveys conducted during the 18 months following its implementation. Over 3000 responses from students and nearly 500 responses from faculty reveal both groups recognise the potential of gradeless learning to positively impact student learning and well-being, by helping students adjust to university life and encouraging them to take more academic risks without worrying about grades. However, both groups cite problems with gradeless learning, namely poor learning attitudes and behaviours,which arise when grades can no longer be relied on to motivate learning. Faculty members, in particular, feel frustrated by their lack of an active role in this alternative approach to grading, which was designed exclusively to benefit students. This study suggests that the success of gradeless learning anywhere requires the support of faculty partners, who must be integral in developing pedagogical innovations that can help de-emphasise grades as a way to motivate and measure learning.

AB - This paper examines an alternative approach to grading at a public university in Singapore. Beginning in 2014, all incoming students were given a ‘grade-free’ period of assessment. This was designed to give new students time to adjust to university life and to inspire students to approach their learning free from the worry of grades. Similar to pass/ fail systems elsewhere around the world, this example of what we call ‘gradeless learning’ reflects long-term national aims of reducing society’s emphasis on the letter- and number-based grades and developing a country of lifelong learners. This paper shares student and faculty reaction to the alternative approach to grading, through four surveys conducted during the 18 months following its implementation. Over 3000 responses from students and nearly 500 responses from faculty reveal both groups recognise the potential of gradeless learning to positively impact student learning and well-being, by helping students adjust to university life and encouraging them to take more academic risks without worrying about grades. However, both groups cite problems with gradeless learning, namely poor learning attitudes and behaviours,which arise when grades can no longer be relied on to motivate learning. Faculty members, in particular, feel frustrated by their lack of an active role in this alternative approach to grading, which was designed exclusively to benefit students. This study suggests that the success of gradeless learning anywhere requires the support of faculty partners, who must be integral in developing pedagogical innovations that can help de-emphasise grades as a way to motivate and measure learning.

KW - grades

KW - gradeless learning

KW - stress

KW - well-being

KW - motivation

U2 - 10.1080/0309877X.2019.1619073

DO - 10.1080/0309877X.2019.1619073

M3 - Journal article

VL - 44

SP - 925

EP - 938

JO - Journal of Further and Higher Education

JF - Journal of Further and Higher Education

SN - 0309-877X

IS - 7

ER -