Reimagining Grades through Alternative Grading Frameworks

Currently, there is a movement in higher education to replace traditional modes of grading with alternative methods, such as ungrading and specifications grading. At their heart, these alternative grading approaches re-center learning outcomes, seek to increase student motivation in learning, and provide more control to students. They value what the student has learned over finding the ways the student has fallen short. This interactive panel session will feature instructors from different disciplines sharing their experiences using alternative grading practices, including ungrading and specs grading, in a variety of classes (upper-level, lower-level, general education, and majors). Following an initial discussion of their experiences, the panelists will facilitate a conversation with attendees about the challenges and benefits of these approaches. We will touch on issues such as whether grades accurately reflect learning, grading as power, grade Inflation, and the power of zero. The panelists will share examples of materials they’ve created through handouts and digital access for attendees. 


  • Dr. Heather Pelzel, Biology Department, UW-Whitewater
  • Dr. Jenna Cushing-Leubner, Curriculum & Instruction Department, UW-Whitewater

Additional Resources