Exploring Ungrading at UBC: A Paradigm Shift in Teaching and Learning

Event Date & Time

  • June 7, 2021
    2:30 pm - 4:00 pm

Event Description

In a self-published article titled “The Trouble with Rubrics”, Alfie Kohn writes that “Research shows three reliable effects when students are graded: They tend to think less deeply, avoid taking risks, and lose interest in the learning itself.”

In this interactive session we will explore the pedagogy of “Ungrading”. Ungrading de-emphasizes grading by refocusing instructors’ efforts on feedback and student support.  It also empowers students in the assessment process and develops their metacognitive skills.

Attendees will first be introduced to the principles of Ungrading in a short 30-minute talk. We will discuss how the grading process interacts with students’ motivation and goal orientation. We will also describe examples of successful implementations of Ungrading in the quantitative science disciplines.

Following the talk, facilitators will conduct a guided workshop to help participants reimagine courses they have taken or taught through the lens of Ungrading. As an activity, we will re-design a course step-by-step to incorporate Ungrading principles. Finally, we will discuss the potential of Ungrading as a group to reform higher education.

By the end of this workshop, attendees will be able to:
– Describe the pedagogy of Ungrading
– Imagine assessment mechanisms that encourage students to discover and grow
– Evaluate the benefits and challenges of Ungrading and Traditional Grading



  • Jaclyn Stewart, Associate Professor of Teaching in the Department of Chemistry and the Deputy Academic Director of the CTLT
  • Celeste Leander, Professor of Teaching Department of Zoology
  • Clarissa Sorensen-Unruh, Chemistry Instructor, Central New Mexico Community College
  • Firas Moosvi, Lecturer, Department of Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics and Statistics

This event will be hosted on Zoom.