Ungrading is an alternative assessment technique that accentuates the instructor’s formative feedback to students while monitoring their progress (similar to coaching). Instructors who have committed to ungrading must still adhere to institutional requirements for final grade submission but they may use grades that are based on student self-assessment and reflection.


During class time, instructor Erin Nunnally asked her students to look at their own assignments that Nunnally had graded using the traditional grading technique. She asked them to look at their work, compare it to the goals outlined in the assignment prompt, and reflect on whether and to what extent their work reflects the mastery of skills. Nunnally reported that “students had indeed looked at the number grade, but they quickly shifted their focus to the quality of their work and soon the numbers didn’t matter at all; they cared about learning and improving” (Focus on Feedback 2020).

Key Takeaways

Some of the ungrading techniques include:

  • utilizing more narrative feedback while shifting away from scores
  • creating more flexible due dates
  • accentuating reflection & self-assessment

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