I will give you a final course grade because I’m required by Plymouth State University to do so. However, I do not believe that a grade makes you a more interested, engaged, or skilled learner, student, writer, reader, or thinker. In fact, the research indicates that grades work against learning and doing.

I will, however, assess and ask you to assess your own learning, writing, reading, and thinking. These will not be assessments created to generate a grade—like rubrics or scoring guides.  The best assessment involves observation, description, interpretation, and an insider’s awareness of what it is like to actually create the products or engage in the kind of thinking and writing we are assessing.

I will not grade individual assignments.  Not only do grades and point systems get in the way of learning, but they also just don’t make any sense, particularly in a course like this where the work and thinking we’ll do influences itself backwards and forwards.

I want all of the work you do throughout the semester integrated with you, the reader and each other. If I’ve doled out grades, assignment by assignment, why would you want to go back and revise and edit your pieces. Grades signify that the work is finished and writing is never finished. I want us to have a sense that our work together is bigger and more important than any number or letter that I could assign it. And, indeed, it is.

I will ask that your work be done on time, in good faith, a term used to describe work in which you have invested thought and time. If you’re thinking, working, and participating in good faith, then you can count on me to return your investment; I’ll give you response and feedback—assessment—to help you deepen your understandings and improve the quality of your work.