Can students really grade themselves?

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This first appeared on The Results Only Learning Blog. Because of its popularity, I decided to post it here.

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While presenting at ISTE 2011, I was demonstrating the effectiveness of using technology to provide narrative feedback to students. I explained the power of such feedback, in terms of learning, and I told the audience that I never place a letter or number grade on anything.

When the time for Q&A arrived, a curious attendee asked, “When it comes time for a report card grade, how do you do it?” He appeared stunned by my response.

“I let the kids decide the grade,” I said. I could tell that he and most others in the audience were perplexed, so I elaborated. “I meet with each student,” I continued, “I ask them to review their production for the quarter, along with all feedback. I ask them to evaluate the work. Then I say, ‘So, what’s your grade?’ It’s amazing how honest they are. Some even give themselves F’s.”

Can this system work in your class? If so, what’s keeping you from doing it?”

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Mark Barnes is the Founder of Times 10 Publications, which produces the popular Hack Learning Series -- books and other series that provide right-now solutions for teachers and learners. Mark is the author or publisher of dozens of books, including Bestseller Hacking Education: 10 Quick Fixes for Every School. Barnes presents internationally on assessment, connected education, and Hack Learning. Join more than 150,000 interested educators who follow @markbarnes19 on Twitter.
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