Transforming Assessment: Embracing a Student-Centered Approach to Grading

Robin Harwick, Ph.D.
3 min readFeb 12, 2023
Photo by Khamkhor on Unsplash

“If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.” Sir Ken Robinson

Grades and traditional assessment forms have been a staple in education for decades. However, as the quote above highlights, we must reassess our methods of measuring student performance and growth, and explore alternative approaches that foster creativity and ingenuity in students. Students must be able to take risks and make mistakes in order to be innovative and prepared for the future. One such alternative is the “credit or no credit yet” approach.

The “credit or no credit yet” approach focuses on student-centered learning and personal growth rather than solely grades and points. In this approach, students are expected to engage in self-reflection to determine if they’ve done their personal best. Educators act as mentors during this process. When this approach is first implemented, I recommend that this occurs in a 1:1 conversation instead of as a written activity the student does alone.

This assessment approach benefits students as it encourages self-awareness and helps them take responsibility for their learning. It also increases intrinsic motivation, as students can see their progress over time and feel a sense of accomplishment from their progress.

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Robin Harwick, Ph.D.

Author, Educator, Researcher, Survivor, and Youth & Family Advocate. robinharwick.com