Most of the stuff I'm finding online about ungrading are either general descriptions of its virtues, or personal accounts from instructors from subjects other than math. Does anyone know any resources pertaining to ungrading specific to math classes?

For anyone unfamiliar, ungrading is a buzzword being tossed about for assessing students' progress without focusing on quantitative feedback or letter grades, but instead having the students reflect on their own learning progress. Here's a mildly related popular question on this site.

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    $\begingroup$ "Having the students reflect on their own learning progress" does not imply they assess what they've learned and how well they learned it. Also, one cannot assess what one does not know. From your link: "I care less that my doctors are graded and more that they've read all the books of Virginia Woolf or Octavia Butler, because critical thinking is what will help them save my life." — wow, for realz? Say no more. $\endgroup$
    – Rusty Core
    May 31, 2020 at 19:01
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    $\begingroup$ From the link: The work of teaching shouldn't be reduced to the mechanical act of grading or marking. Straw man. Nobody said it should be reduced to that. If you're a teacher and you hate grading, stop doing it. No. Perhaps the only indispensable part of my job is to give students feedback. They can read the book without my help. What they can't do without my help is get the necessary course corrections so they can navigate. [Grading is] supposedly fair, saves time, and helps prepare students for the horrors of the “real world.” No. Grading provides feedback. $\endgroup$
    – user507
    May 31, 2020 at 20:35
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    $\begingroup$ About math specifically no, but there are some very good links in (insidehighered.com/news/2019/04/02/…), especially the investigation of removing grades from a organic chemistry course (clarissasorensenunruh.com/2019/02/10/ungrading-a-series-part-1). You might also want to take a look at capstone/project based education as they tend to be courses with non-standard grading practices. $\endgroup$
    – Nate Bade
    May 31, 2020 at 21:03
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    $\begingroup$ @BenCrowell I think the author considers feedback separate from grading. Like, they're thinking of grading as giving the student a grade. $\endgroup$ Jun 1, 2020 at 3:39
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    $\begingroup$ Perhaps the difference between formative feedback and summative feedback (cmu.edu/teaching/assessment/basics/formative-summative.html) is relevant here. $\endgroup$
    – J W
    Jun 1, 2020 at 7:18

2 Answers 2


David Clark and Robert Talbert have taken a lead experimenting with ungrading in their mathematics classes, and have started a substack, Grading for Growth, for folks to write their reflections and ideas. Most of the posts are written by David and/or Robert and so will, at least implicitly, be about their experiences specific to teaching math.

Here's one big take-away from their writing that seems particularly pertinent to math class: Ungrading works best when students are capable of reflecting on their own understanding. Without grades telling students how they'r doing, they've got to be able to evaluate their progress (mostly) themselves, which can be tough; years of grades-based schooling has nerfed their metacognative abilities. Besides that, I think it's tougher to self-evaluate one's understanding of mathematical ideas more than ideas from other fields. As an instructor it's necessary to be aware of this, and to possibly spend class time having students practice reflecting on their understanding, building their metacognition.


One of my favorite resources has been the shell center’s mathematics assessment project. They have both lessons and more traditional assessment scenarios, however the rubrics provided focus on ways to give formative feedback rather than a strictly point based approach.


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    $\begingroup$ I'm not quite sure if this fits my question, but this is a really cool resource that I'm shocked I've never come across before :D $\endgroup$ Jun 5, 2020 at 20:29

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