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  1. Great episode–I loved hearing Ken talk about what he’s learned in the 10 years since his Best Teachers book was published. I’m also going to try walking into every class I teach with a big interesting question that we’ll tackle that day.

    One question I had after listening was about Ken’s preference for doing feedback loops with students without assigning grades until fairly late in the class. My students want to know what grade they’re getting in the class as they progress so they can calibrate their effort levels and in some cases decide whether or not to drop the class.

    • Sorry for my delay in replying to your comment, Doug. Apparently, my WordPress site no longer notifies me when I have comments.

      It seems a question of moderation, to me… For larger, high-stakes assignments, I feel challenged to give students more feedback prior to the final grade.

      However, I also know that they don’t always give it their best effort, if there is no grade/points associated with the step. I’m probably thinking about this more then normal, because the issue just came up on my evals from last semester. A student commented that they didn’t get as much out of my in-class case studies because they knew I didn’t grade them (usually, it’s just pass/fail; get the points, or don’t). Therefore s/he said that s/he didn’t take them as seriously and they were a less valuable aspect of the class.

      It reminds me a bit of the students who have thanked me for [mostly] not allowing laptops in class, because they knew that they wouldn’t have had enough self-discipline to do that for themselves. They knew that they learned more / focused better under those conditions.

      In reference to your concern, we also have occasional grade checks for our student athletes and without some ability to predict their final outcome in the class, this feedback would be useless to those working so hard to instill good academic discipline with our student athletes. I’m proud to report that our athletes are just as good of students are non-athletes at our institution. Part of that, I think, comes from the level of competition that they participate in (GSAC)…