Radical Assessment and Ungrading

Can we imagine assessment mechanisms that encourage discovery, ones not designed for assessing learning but designed for learning through assessment? Much of our work in education resists being formulated as neat and tidy outcomes, and yet most assessment takes the complexity of human interaction within a learning environment and makes it “machine readable.” When learning is the goal, space should be left for wonder and experimentation.

This track will explore methods and approaches for designing assignments and assessments that respond to the priorities of a critical digital pedagogy. We’ll consider examples together and reimagine and/or refine our pedagogical approaches. In addition to crafting, collaborating, and experimenting together as a group, we’ll consider some of the tools that do shape, could shape, or shouldn’t shape how we approach the work of assessment.

Together, we’ll consider radical approaches to assessment and ungrading, including:

  • Grade free zones
  • Self-assessment
  • Process letters
  • Minimal grading
  • Authentic assessment
  • Contract grading
  • Portfolios
  • Peer-assessment
  • And more.

We will also talk about when and how to assess digital and other non-traditional student work.


Jesse Stommel
Jesse Stommel is co-founder of Digital Pedagogy Lab and Hybrid Pedagogy: an open-access journal of learning, teaching, and technology.
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