“The Call Is Coming from Inside the House: How Grades Undermine Learning and Jeopardize Student Wellbeing”
Getting a good grade is supposed to be a marker of excellence, but research shows that grades diminish our intrinsic motivation and emphasize the outcome rather than the process that leads to what researchers refer to as deep learning. Grades also mirror and magnify many of the systemic inequities that are a part of higher education. Further still, rates of anxiety and depression have spiked dramatically for teens and young adults, and academic stress tied to grades is a leading cause of this escalation.
This workshop led attendees through a structured reflection exercise designed to spark our thinking about the connections between our grading practices, our values, and our beliefs about education. He explored some of the research on grades and offered a range of strategies to try, both in our classrooms and at the institutional level, in order to be more equitable in our classrooms by mitigating the damaging effects of grades.
“Ariadne’s Thread: Finding Our Way through the Labyrinth of Misconceptions about Learning”
Put simply, the goal of teaching is learning, but learning itself is a deeply complex process. As we seek to find out more about the ways in which human beings learn, we often run into misconceptions and neuromyths that muddy the waters much more than they help us to understand what is happening when we learn something new. This talk explores some of these misconceptions and looks toward the science of learning for more productive answers by exploring intersections between anthropology, psychology, cognitive neuroscience, and educational research that can yield important insights into student learning–particularly in terms of curiosity, sociality, emotion, authenticity, and failure.
Joshua Eyler is Director of Faculty Development and Director of the Think Forward Quality Enhancement Plan at the University of Mississippi, where he is also Clinical Assistant Professor of Teacher Education. He previously worked on teaching and learning initiatives at Columbus State University, George Mason University, and Rice University. Eyler is the author of the acclaimed book How Humans Learn: The Science and Stories behind Effective College Teaching, which Book Authority named “100 Best Education Books of All Time”. Called a “splendid repository of ways to rethink how we teach college” by the Los Angeles Review of Books, it was named a “Book of the Year” in the Chicago Tribune. His forthcoming book, Scarlet Letters: How Grades are Harming Children and Young Adults, and What We Can Do about It is about one of the most urgent issues in education today: grading and alternative assessment.