In my class on Fraternities, I am trying to demystify the research paper and lessen their anxiety by ungrading.  I think it’s working pretty well.  I have committed to using only completion grading this semester.  Each student in the class was required to propose a project and they are working on it week by week.  They get a certain number of points for completing each assignment for a total of 100 points in the class.  At the end of the semester I will add up the points and that will be the student’s grade.  This means control of the grade is in the students’ hands.   This method requires me to read and mark writing every week (down side, usually on Saturday and Sunday; I have 19 students in this class). But I do feel it has freed me up to focus on improvement over evaluation.  I don’t have to justify a grade.   Here are the weekly assignments and the points attached to each task:

Week 1 Research Skills Assignment

3

Week 2 Photo Essay on Fraternal Buildings

5

Week 3 Research Skills Assignment

3

Week 4 Good, Bad and Ugly  Assignment

5

Week 5 Preliminary Proposal

5

Week 6 Revise Proposal/Freewrite on Evidence

3

Week 7 Chain Bibliography

8

Week 8 Freewrite on Evidence

8

Week 9 Write first Paragraph with Thesis

5

Week 10 Revise First Paragraph Refine Thesis

5

Week 11 Full Rough Draft

10

Total For class exercises: annotations, discussion forum

15

Exam Week Final Version

25

Total 100 points