This page is organized by ungrading method, followed by a quick description of that approach, and some examples from various instructors.
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
- Writing Courses Template by Asao Inoue
- English 223 by John Warner
- RWS 200 (First-Year Writing) by Anthony Lince
- English 110 by Jennifer Eidum
- English 102 by Megan Von Bergen
- History 104 by Kevin Gannon (The second part of this post has Gannon’s contract example.)
Labor-Based Grading Syllabus language
- Evaluation and Grading Section of Syllabus by Anthony Lince
How to use Labor-Based Grading with Canvas
- Grading Contracts in Canvas by Dr. Jennifer G