Northwestern Events Calendar


Grading for Growth: Toward more humane, authentic, and trustworthy ways to evaluate student work

When: Tuesday, October 3, 2023
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM CT

Where: Online

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: 2022-23 RAP Content Committee  

Group: Searle Center Events

Category: Academic


The recording is available here (NU credentials required)


This event (open to Northwestern University faculty, staff, and students) kicks off the 2023-24 Reimagining Assessment Practicum.

About the Keynote:

When: Tuesday, October 3 at 12-1:30pm (CT)

Where: Zoom webinar

What: 1-hour talk plus 30-minute ask-me-anything

Grading as we know it is significantly broken. The traditional approach involving one-and-done assessment, points, partial credit, and averaging is demotivating for students, demoralizing for faculty, time-consuming, disconnected from science, and of questionable statistical validity. But it is changeable, and in fact there is no better time than now to explore alternatives that prioritize student growth and align better with how humans learn. In this talk, we will explore the history and issues of traditional grading, propose a framework for "alternative" grading practices, and see how to implement alternative grading without massive requirements of time or energy.


About the Speaker:

Robert Talbert is a Professor in the Department of Mathematics at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan. He holds a Ph.D. in Mathematics from Vanderbilt University. Robert has experimented with and advocated for innovation in teaching and learning throughout his 25-year career in higher education. Primarily a classroom instructor, he also holds the position of Senior Faculty Fellow for Learning Futures through the GVSU President's Office, in which he works to connect faculty with innovation research opportunities. He is the author of "Flipped Learning: A Guide for Higher Education Faculty" (Stylus Publications, 2017) and the co-author (with his GVSU colleague Dr. David Clark) of "Grading For Growth: A Guide to Alternative Grading Practices That Promote Authentic Learning and Student Engagement in Higher Education" (Routledge, 2023). He writes on higher education and leadership at, on alternative grading practices at, and on balance and productivity in academia at "Intentional Academia" (

Robert lives in western Michigan with his wife, children, and three cats. He aspires to spend more time playing bass guitar, reading books on the beach, and riding bicycles than being at a computer.

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