Students face enormous pressures around grades – whether that be through trying to meet GPA requirements for graduate and professional schools or through internalizing grades as indicators of their self-worth. These are challenging and stressful circumstances for the student as much as the instructor. Emphasizing that grading is part of a process of feedback and a tool for learning can help undercut these pressures and refocus students on the purpose of education as a process of continuous development.

For more about student motivation and grading, see the How Students Learn talk Why Students Learn and (Sometimes) Don’t Learn. Another great resource is: Life Beyond Grades: Designing College Courses to Promote Intrinsic Motivation by Dominic Voge, Linda von Hoene, and Martin Covington (Cambridge UP, 2017).

Writing Comments on Student Work
Practice Commenting on Sample Papers
Returning Student Work
Helping Students Understand Their Grades