“In this course, you must claim every aspect of your experience — your thinking, your feeling, your doing, and your reflecting on that doing — and to grade yourself for your efforts and the results of your efforts.”How could (or should) students use this idea (of grading oneself) to best effect in a gradeless class? What does it mean to "grade yourself"?
A final course grade (at least where I teach) is the only option I have for making a permanent record of a student's performance or work in my courses. As much non-graded work as we may do together in building learning and making lasting change, the only official thing that survives is what's on the transcript. How doe we (each student and I) make that grade mean something?
Being a reformed (or is it "renewed"?) college student myself, I don't think I look at grades the same way some others do. That is, I had a pretty bad college GPA for awhile (long, long stories there), got out of school to work and get my head together, and came back under a program at the university wherein we basically pretended that my early "failures" never happened. In other words, having had plenty of "bad" grades on my official records, I don't tend to see them on other people's transcripts as harbingers of future failure, necessarily. Etc., etc., etc..
So... students "grade themselves." In what ways could they (should they) frame that work? What are they saying to themselves and to others when they give themselves an "A" or a "B" or whatever? Will they, for example, explain to a future college official or employer which of their grades they gave themselves?
In class a couple of weeks ago, a student asked about the requirements for our semester "mastery project." As he began to understand the scope of what we were hoping to do, he obviously began to think about scores/grades/marks/ and so forth. Knowing that I'd said many times that "everything is made up and the points don't matter*," he nevertheless quipped, "I think you are secretly grading use." Am I?
I'm outta time for the day, but I'll be back to consider this some more.
*That's Drew Carey's tongue in that cheek, eh?