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.


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, The uNseries, and other books from some of education's most reputable teachers and leaders. Barnes presents internationally on assessment, connected education, and Hack Learning. Connect with @markbarnes19 on Twitter.

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