Specifications Grading LC – Autumn 2020

“‘We are the Same’, say Jewish and Arab youth.” by U.S. Embassy Jerusalem is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Specifications Grading Learning Community met three times in autumn quarter 2020. We have decided to pursue two main goals:

  • Discover and share evidence-based best practices for specifications grading, formulated through published research (which is fairly scant so far) as well as our own classroom experiences; and
  • Conduct our own empirical study.

We plan to pursue the first goal by reviewing the literature in winter quarter 2021 and, for the second goal, design a study in winter quarter 2021 and implement it in spring quarter.

I personally have taught three courses using specifications grading. Of the students who provided feedback, nearly all said they liked the grading scheme, reporting reduced grade stress and greater control over their schedules.

One thing I learned: For higher grades (e.g., 3.5 or 4.0 on a 4.0 scale), I can and should require more work than I did when those courses were traditionally graded. In other words, students seem willing and able to stretch, and learn more, without more stress!


Specifications Grading LC – Winter 2021

“Exams to grade” by lordsutch is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

After three meetings in autumn quarter, we have initiated two threads for our learning community:

  • Exploring best practices through (scant) published research and our own experiences; and
  • Designing and conducting our own empirical study of the efficacy of specifications grading.

We plan to meet three times in winter quarter, and look forward to sharing our progress.

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