I know we have had countless discussions about grades, their value, their impact on intrinsic motivation, what the research on grading shows, and endless debates on the u-word… no, not Ultra… ungrading. Personally, I am not brave enough to ungrade but I do recognize the validity of the criticisms of grading. Anyhoo, not being brave enough to ungrade, I found what I think is a good middle ground: equity / equitable grading. Do a search on it or ask Jenn Kelley, I’m sure she has a ton of stuff on it.

BTW, stop using Google. Start using other search engines. Generally, de-Google your life… What? It’s a word.

So, equity grading. In my case, it means shifting my overall grading scale in a way that is a tad more generous because in what universe does 60% of any scale means failure? A full equitable scale divides the A-F scale into 20% percentage points intervals like this:

  • A = 80 to 100%
  • B = 60 to 80%
  • C = 40 to 60%
  • D = 20 to 40%
  • F = less than 20%

Before you scream grade inflation, consider that this would work really well if you use specification grading.

But I also don’t have the guts to use this scale. I use a half-measure. I am generally a tough grader so having a slightly more generous overall schema offsets that a bit. In my case, it looks like this:

  • A = 85 to 100%
  • B = 70 to 85%
  • C = 55 to 70%
  • D = 40 to 55%
  • F = less than 40%

I have been using a more equitable schema in all my classes for several semesters now. Has it resulted in massive grade inflation? No. With very, very rare exceptions, students land pretty much where I think they should. But this schema releases the pressure over grades in general and this leads to no grade-grubbing at the end of the semester. It also helps that I build some extra-credit into my courses from the get-go.

I generally use the extra-credit for stuff I would love to use in class but know I won’t have the time for so it’s not busy work so it’s available to all, not just the squeaky wheels (an equity issue!).

Back to Ultra. In order to apply a different overall grade scale, you need to change the overall grade schema in the Ultra gradebook. Watch me do it in 2 minutes.

And here is your list of steps:

For the record, all my Ultra videos are saved together in a collection on my Vimeo channel. You can find them all here: