Grades at the Beginning

For seven years now – we have had a particular way of doing assessment. Its called: “Grades at the Beginning” (GATB).

In this mode of assessment the students opt for a grade (or Mark) at the beginning of the course, then plan their course projects and submit a “Learning Contract”. They are given feedback on the match between the ‘aspiration grade’ and the ‘learning contract’ – and modify it to align the mark-work to be undertaken so its satisfactory. This may be both too much work being undertaken for a low grade or too little work being promised for a high grade.

In the “grades at the beginning” model – the teachers spell out goals/ outcomes of courses – but not the way to achieve the goals. The calendar of the semester is made by individual students.

Grades at the beginning has been transformative both for students and teachers – but has also change the spirit of the community.

I am happy to answer any questions about how ‘GATB’ works. Do post your question in the comments section below.


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