Part 2: How to Ungrade (Ungrading Practices & Examples)

This page is organized by ungrading method, followed by a quick description of that approach, and some examples from various instructors.

Labor-Based Grading

Description: Even though they might vary from educator to educator, most labor-based grading contracts have a few key features:

First, only measurable labor is used to calculate a student’s final course grades. So, for example, if a student would like to earn a ‘B’ in a course, they need to complete a certain amount of labor for that grade. If they would like an ‘A,’ they need to complete all the labor for the ‘B’ grade, plus additional labor. The class (instructor and students), usually at the beginning of the semester, negotiate and agree upon the conditions for the grades in the course.

Second, no letters, numbers, or percentages are placed on any student writing or other work. If a student has completed an assignment according to the labor guidelines, they receive the credit. With grades out of the picture, instructors can focus on giving quality feedback.

In my experience, I’ve noticed that this particular ungrading method seems to be heavily favored by writing instructors, though not exclusively.

(For a much deeper conversation on labor-based grading contracts—specifically, how they might be pedagogically better and more equitable in writing classrooms—see Inoue’s chapter: “What Labor-Based Grading Contracts Look Like.”)

Labor-Based Grading Contract Examples

Labor-Based Grading Syllabus language

How to use Labor-Based Grading with Canvas

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