(107a) The World Is Changing and We Must Change with It - Lessons Learned in Alternative Grading Approaches in Core Chemical Engineering Courses
AIChE Annual Meeting
Monday, November 14, 2022 - 12:32pm to 12:50pm
In the second year, we describe a specifications grading approach in a material and energy balances course built around individual projects in lieu of exams, opportunities for growth through resubmission, and use of reflections to develop better work habits. This shifted the goal to providing students the opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of core concepts rather than high-stress testing that evaluates their ability to demonstrate these concepts under the pressure of time.
In the third year, we discuss two courses, a Chemical Engineering Mathematical Analysis Course, where we utilize an augmented specifications grading approach whereby conventional assessments: homework problem sets, daily quizzes, and exams are offered to students in the standard way, but credit is earned based on a method that is less punitive and extremely forgiving of simple mistakes. Summarily, students are provided a "choose your own adventure" approach to achieving a desired grade, with the lowest passing grade corresponding to the minimum acceptable achievement of the student outcomes. This approach was designed to be adapted to any existing class with standard assessment and grading formats with little redesign required. In Fluid Mechanics, an approach based on âUngradingâ was used, decentering grades while emphasizing feedback with a semester-long project designed to give students voice and choice in how they demonstrated their learning.
In the fourth year, we also applied an âUngradingâ approach to the Capstone Design course, which included the elimination of all intermediate deadlines, a âno-grades, feedback-onlyâ approach to assignments, flexibility and choice in assignment completion, and a comprehensive portfolio with one-on-one student meetings to demonstrate and discuss learning outcomes.