July 28th

Whew! That was quite the first day and this is a really large workshop. Surely having this many voices is powerful, but discussion boards can be exhausting. We're learning as we go too.

I'd recommend checking out Twitter and using the #ungradingDPL2020 (thanks Margaret Chapmam for the suggestion!) We'll continue to use Discourse too.

Our goal is to take this workshop slowly through the design process. Don't burn out too quickly in the discussion! In the following activity, we'll contextualize and empathize, reflecting on our place surrounding ungrading and how we teach. - Chris

In this activity, we will begin to consider our own experiences with grades and how it may affect our students. There will be three steps:

  1. A “personality test.” Read the following excerpts and decide which category best suits your experience as a student.
  2. Complete the attached prompt (Google Document) based off of your chosen “personality type.”
  3. Visit our discussion board and reflect on this activity.

“Personality Test”

Much of our perspective on teaching is related to the type of student that we were in school. Read the following five “types” of students and decide which category best suits you. Obviously, this is a drastic oversimplification and you may fit into multiple categories, or none. You will be able to expand on these ideas later in this activity.

Academically Centered

You were very focused on performing well according to school standards. Sometimes, you may have been labelled as the “teacher’s pet” and overall, you really enjoyed your school experience.


According to research by Dr. William Damon, 25% of students are disengaged. You felt that there were little to no interests, inside or outside of school, that interested you. You saw little care for anything outside of yourself. Your primary focus was getting through the day.

Purpose Centered

According to research by Dr. William Damon, 20% of students are purposeful. You felt highly connected to something and understood the greater, overarching plan for getting there. You were constantly driven to succeed in some way, shape, or form. Importantly, this did not necessarily have to be school related.


You performed “okay” in school and went through the motions. You may have gone to college purely through what Dr. William Deresiewicz calls “zombification” - going through the motions just because it was assumed you’d do so. There wasn’t necessarily an overarching plan, you just did what you needed to do based on perceived expectations.


You were focused on being academically centered, or at least wanted to succeed in school, but the structure of school made it difficult for you to succeed in some way. Perhaps courses weren’t set up in a way that made sense to you, or there was a barrier in how information was presented.


Visit our collaborative Google Docs link. There are two versions based on your last name:

Be advised that anyone can edit this, so watch you don’t accidentally delete someone’s writing! Within, respond to the prompts based on the category you chose above. You will only fill in prompts for one table.

As you read other responses, check out our discussion board where we’ll reflect on what others have written and how it compares to your responses.

Please ensure that you do not share any personal identifiable information, such as specific names of schools and/or students. Feel free to anonymize information if warranted. Other respondents will see what you write, and we may showcase this information to others (e.g. social media)!

Tomorrow, we will look at how we can shift our assessment practices with these contexts in mind.

~ Read next post in Creating a Virtual, Liberatory Feedback-Driven Classroom ~

Part 3 - Shifting Our Classroom

Posted by Chris McNutt

3 min read