Assess with Respect by Co-Constructing Success Criteria with Students | Starr Sackstein | 10 Min Read

In the best of times, “Grading students is a controversial yet time-honored tradition used in most school systems to efficiently communicate the level of a student’s learning. Although it may be the most efficient way to share information, it is far from the most effective or compassionate way to do so. Kids at every level are labeled, compared, controlled, and ultimately dishonored by the process. Few think to question it because “it’s how we’ve always done it,” and perhaps they don’t realize that there are other options. “

As educators and parents, we have a real opportunity to shift the paradigm around what assessment for learning looks like and also consider the impact that teacher-centered schooling structures have on the development of young minds.

In Assessing with Respect: Everyday Practices That Meet Students’ Social and Emotional Needs, I share a variety of strategies that empower students to be a part of their learning which breeds success and improves the sense of learner identity. One way teachers can do this is by bringing student voice into the process early on: inviting them to help define what success looks like, or what we call…

Register Now
You may use your member school or partner discount code !!!

Starr Sackstein

Starr Sackstein started her teaching career at Far Rockaway High School in the early 2000s, eager to make a difference. Quickly learning to connect with students, she was able to recognize the most important part of teaching: building relationships. Fostering relationships with students and peers to encourage community growth and a deeper understanding of personal contribution through reflection, she has continued to elevate her students by putting them at the center of the learning. A National Board Certified teacher, Ms. Sackstein has written many books and articles, including: Teaching Students to Self-Assess: How Do I Help Students Grow as Learners?; Hacking Assessment: 10 Ways to Go Gradeless in a Traditional Grades School; Peer Feedback in the Classroom: Empower Students to be the Experts with the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD); and Assessing with Respect: Everyday Practices that Meet Students’ Social and Emotional Needs (ASCD March 2021). Sackstein contributed to compilation works such as Ungrading: Why Rating Students Undermines Learning (and What to Do Instead) (Teaching and Learning in Higher Education). Ms. Sackstein blogged on Education Week Teacher at “Work in Progress,” where she discussed all aspects of being a teacher and education reform for five years ending in 2019. Most recently, Sackstein has been consulting full-time with the Core Collaborative, working with teams on assessment reform, and bringing student voice to the front of all classroom learning. Balancing a busy career of writing and educating with being Mom of high schooler Logan is a challenging adventure. Seeing the world through his eyes reminds her why education needs to change for every child. Rounding out her family is her husband Charlie who is a mindfulness and meditation coach, as well as a personal trainer which comes in handy for being conscious of self-care. Together they adventure around the world bringing harmony to each other’s lives. Starr can be reached at [email protected] or via Twitter at @MsSackstein. She can also be found at