Low-Stakes Assignments: Challenges and Opportunities

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Low-stakes assignments include work we have students do that doesn’t count for a large part of the course grade. There’s a strong set of reasons to use these kinds of assignments, but also some challenges. Let’s take stock.

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[dropcap]L[/dropcap]ow-stakes assignments include work we have students do that doesn’t count for a large part of the course grade. There’s a strong set of reasons to use these kinds of assignments, but also some challenges. Let’s take stock. The case for low-stakes assignments The challenges of low-stakes assignments (and some solutions) Solution: Explain the rationale behind these assignments. Let there be some serious consequences if they aren’t collectively taken seriously. For example, a set of quiz scores well below average might mandate an extra exam.   Solution: Provide examples that illustrate the level of quality that’s expected. Explicitly point out the connections between the low- and high-stakes assignments.   Solution: Devise efficient grading processes. Don’t provide a lot of individual feedback. Give the class feedback with anonymous examples. Use a rubric. Collect them all but randomly select a subset and grade those.