Adam Kahn: Equitable Grading
Dr. Adam Kahn is a professor of Communication Studies. His grading policies are designed to break down biases within traditional grading practices while continuing to hold students to high learning standards. Here, he shares how the application of three principles from Joe Feldman's Grading for Equity has affected his classes.
"In one of my courses, based on data made available by the CSU, I had one of the largest GPA equity gaps...between underrepresented and non-underrepresented students. After implementing these practices, that gap almost went away. Not only were students doing better, but the differences in achievement was in more parity with one another."
- Which equitable grading practices do you use?
- How has equitable grading affected your classes?
- Adam uses three grading principles you'll learn more about in subsequent videos: mathematical accuracy, bias-resistance, and motivational grading.
- In his classes, these principles have helped close achievement gaps between underrepresented and non-underrepresented students.
- What is the hidden issue?
- What are two solutions?
- In this video, Adam explains how the ubiquitous 0-100 grading scale is surprisingly problematic.
- To even out the "weights" of an A, B, C, D, and F, you can use a GPA-like scale (0-5 points), or make the minimum grade in your class a 50%. More context in the video.
- What does bias-resistant mean to you?
- What is another concrete example?
- Bias-resistant grades reflect students' knowledge and not other factors.
- Adam argues in many classes, student behaviors like participation are easily affected by external circumstances, and therefore should not factor into grades.
- What does 'motivational grading' mean?
- Which strategies do you suggest?
- Motivational grading means: grading policies that explicitly encourage students to learn and grow from past attempts.
- Adam suggests specific wording you can use to reframe grades with a growth mindset. He also explains why he gives students an opportunity to revise their work.