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The 2017 Seventeenth Annual UMM Undergraduate Research Symposium (URS) celebrates student scholarly achievement and creative activities. Students from all disciplines participate in the URS. Types of presentations include posters, oral presentations, and short or abbreviated theatrical, dance, or musical performances. 

Presentations are accompanied by discussions and multimedia.


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Saturday, April 22 • 3:30pm - 3:50pm
Alternative Systems of Grading: Appreciating What is Right in Front of Us

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Both students and professors in college writing courses often criticize the traditional A-F grading system, claiming it not only values the end result over the learning process but also that it places too much pressure on both students and professors alike. This research project examines the merits of two alternative systems of grading said to mitigate these consequences: contract grading and pass/fail grading. My review of the literature shows that when put into practice both of these systems fall short. Contract grading prioritizes quantity over quality, basing a grade not on the argument or structure of a paper, but the amount of pages it has or the number of visits made to the writing center. Likewise pass/fail grading decreases student motivation not only in the pass/fail classroom, but in all of the classes the student is taking at that time.
Based on my review of the current literature, I argue that the standard A-F system of grading works better than contract and pass/fail grading because it is motivating, flexible, and efficient with qualitative assessment. These positive features are important because people often complain about the A-F system but rarely highlight its benefits or evaluate the alternative. The A-F system may not be the best option, but in order to create a better system of grading we need to ensure it maintains the qualities that A-F grading does well.


Saturday April 22, 2017 3:30pm - 3:50pm
John Q. Imholte Hall, Room #112 600 E 4th St., Morris MN 56267