Do you find yourself wondering how you will ever grade that giant stack of papers? Wondering if there might be other ways to support your students’ progress or monitor their understanding? What would happen if we eliminated the points for compliance exchange, students advocated for their own grades, and gradebooks essentially became “pointless”? Would student agency increase, would students’ reading and writing lives and habits reflect those needed to be successful communicators in the real world, could teachers grade less but know more about their students? Dr. Sarah Zerwin and PEBC Lab Host Jenn Brauner join Michelle Morris Jones on the Phenomenal Teaching Podcast to discuss Sarah’s book, Pointless: An English Teacher’s Guide to More Meaningful Grading, and how points based grading gets in the way of student learning and ways to reimagine one’s assessment system that meets the needs of traditional school expectations while at the same time providing more meaningful feedback to students. Michelle asks Sarah and Jenn to dive into the trajectory of implementing a “pointless” grading system, including the big wins and the challenges.
Sarah is the author of Pointless: An English Teacher’s Guide to More Meaningful Grading, high school English teacher, instructional coach and facilitator for the Colorado Writing Project. Jenn Brauner is a middle school English Language Arts teacher, PEBC Lab Host and Staff Developer, and instructional leader. For more resources and information check out Sarah’s website: https://sarahmzerwin.com/