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A Unilateral Grading Contract to Improve Learning and Teaching

Abstract
Contract grading has achieved some prominence in our field as a practice associated with critical pedagogy. In this context, we describe a hybrid grading contract where students earn a course grade of B based not on our evaluation of their writing quality but solely on their completion of the specified activities. The contract lists activities we’ve found most reliable in producing B-quality writing over fourteen weeks. Higher grades are awarded to students who produce exemplary portfolios. Thus we freely give students lots of evaluative feedback on their writing, but students can count on a course grade of B if they do all the required activities—no matter our feedback. Our goal in using contracts is to enable teachers and students to give as much attention as possible to writing and as little as possible to grades.
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2009-12-01
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