Labor-Based Grading Resources
Since I'm asked a lot about labor-based grading contract resources for secondary and post secondary teachers, I made this page. I update it frequently, so do check back. If you have a link or something to add to it, please let me know. For ease of finding this page in the future, I've made the tinyurl below for this webpage.
- Template Grading Contract 2020 -- here's my most current template grading contract that can be copied and modified.
- Labor log template (version 13) -- this is a version of my labor log I provide my students in my courses, which accompanies my labor-based grading contract.
- "Stories About Grading Contracts, or How Do I Like Through the Violence I’ve Done?" (2020)
- Labor-Based Grading Contracts: Building Equity and Inclusion in the Compassionate Writing Classroom (2019), particularly chapter 4 (what the practice looks like in my courses) and chapter 6 (detailed Q&A)
- Antiracist Writing Assessment Ecologies: Teaching and Assessing for A Socially Just Future (2015) in chapter 4 (pp. 184-194)
- "A Grade-Less Writing Course That Focuses on Labor and Assessing" (pp. 71-110) in Deborah Coxwell-Teague and Ronald F. Lunsford's First-Year Composition: From Theory to Practice (2014)
I also set up a G'drive (Grading Contract Resources) with lots of articles, sample template contracts, and other resources for teachers.
My Blog Posts
You can see all the tagged blog posts of mine that focus on labor-based grading contracts, but I've highlighted a few below that I think are most useful for those interested in the practice but have not yet tried them.
- A Q&A on Labor-Based Grading Contracts (04 Apr 2021)
- Attendance in Labor-Based Grading (20 Apr 2020)
- How Do You Do Labor-Based Grading in Pre-Existing Curricula (11 Apr 2020)
- Higher Ed as the Oldest Plantation, Farber, and the Presence of Teachers (08 Dec 2015)
- What does a labor-based grading system afford you as a student and learner in a writing course? (18 Jun 2021) -- a blogpost and audio podcast that offers students the benefits to a labor-based grading system in writing courses.
- What is a labor-based grading system and how will it produce a final course grade in a writing course? (14 Jun 2021) -- a blogpost and audio podcast that introduces students to labor-based grading systems.
- Do Grades Help Students Learn in Classrooms? (08 Jun 2021) -- a blogpost and audio podcast on the negative effects of grades on learning in classrooms.
- Why Does Conventional Grading Feel So Unfair? (02 Jun 2021) -- a blogpost and audio podcast recording that discusses some reasons grades feel unfair, such as the principle of mediocrity
- Where Does Grading Come From? (31 May 2021) -- a blogpost and audio podcast recording I made for students (and teachers) that helps explain the history of grading and its entanglements in Christian projects, immigration, race, and White Supremacy in the U.S.
- So Your Instructor is Using Contract Grading ..., Dan Melzer, D.J. Quinn, Lisa Sperber, and Sarah Faye (undated) -- this page explains the practice of grading contracts
- Explaining Labor-Based Grading to Student Writers, Traci Gardner (28 Mar 2017) -- the infographic is from Gardner's post.
- The Benefits of Labor Logs in Writing Courses (26 Nov 2021) -- this blogpost offers some ways to understand the benefits to keeping a labor log in a writing course.
- Jesse Stommel's "Ungrading: A Bibliography" -- this is a deep and rich set of resrouces and readings for those interested in ungrading, ideas, theories, practices, everything.
- Megan Von Bergen's labor-based approach -- it's a table that shows the labors needed to get each grade possible in the course (Nov 2021)
- St. Olaf College's "Exploring Labor-Based Grading Contracts" page (2021) -- there are readings, sample contracts, and other resources on this site
- Canvas Gradebook and Labor-Based Grading Contracts, video by Heather Jordan, (15 Jul 2020)
- Toward Fairness and Equity: Labor-Based Grading During and After COVID-19, Jeffery Austin (17 Apr 2020)
- What if We Didn't Grade? A Bibliography, Jesse Stommel (03 Mar 2020) -- a nice annotated bibliography of resources
- How to Ungrade, Jesse Stommel (11 Mar 2018) -- while not about contract grading explicitly, this post is about ungrading, which is the broader idea and it discusses key concerns
- If I Knew Then What I Know Now: Grading Contract Advice, John Warner (10 Jan 2017) -- a post that offers links to other posts on establishing grading contract classrooms
- "Get The ‘F’ Outta Here: Exploring Contract Grading as a Decolonizing and Equity-Minded Assessment Practice in Composition Classrooms," dissertation, Brianna Kuhn (2021)
- Special issue of The Journal of Writing Assessment on grading contracts (2020)
- "Response to Joyce Olewski Inman and Rebecca A. Powell’s 'In the Absence of Grades: Dissonance and Desire in Course-Contract Classrooms,'" Lindsey Albracht, Al Harahap, Amanda Pratt, Ranmali Rodrigo, Clare Russell, and Virginia M. Schwarz (2019)
- "In the Absence of Grades: Dissonance and Desire in Course-Contract Classrooms," Joyce Olewski Inman and Rebecca A. Powell (2018)
- "Critical Pedagogy is Too Big to Fail," Ira Shor (2009) -- a critical response to the Danielewicz and Elbow article that inserts critical pedagogy into the practice grading contracts.
- "A Unilateral Grading Contract to Improve Learning and Teaching," Jane Danielewicz and Peter Elbow (2009) -- a foundational article on hybrid grading contracts that explains its workings and pedagogy.
- "Not Ready to Let Go: A Study of Resistance to Grading Contracts," Cathy Spidell and William Thelin (2006)
- "Teaching Without Judging," Barrett John Mandel (1973)
This information and resources on this page are offered for free in order to engage language and literacy teachers of all levels in antiracist work and dialogue. The hope is that it will help raise enough money to do more substantial and ongoing antiracist work by funding the Asao and Kelly Inoue Antiracist Teaching Endowment, housed at Oregon State University. Read more about the endowment on my endowment page. Please consider donating to the endowment. Thank you for your help and engagement.