Labels Beget Biases: The Gap Between Beliefs, Self-Efficacy, and Practice | Jared Colley | 14 Min Read

June 14, 2022


It’s afternoon, the end of the school day, and faculty are getting ready for a weekly workshop while students scurry out the building. The session that day focused on un-grading—specifically as it relates to formative assessments for learning. The behavior or practice being discussed was whether or not to grade formative assessments and count them towards a student’s score or final grade in a class. Everyone seemed to be on board with the idea that, like in sports, formative assessments are an opportunity for practice, meaning there’s a reason the scoreboard isn’t turned on at that moment. With lots of heads nodding, it all seems to make sense until one courageous, skeptical participant speaks up:

I don’t believe that students will take the work seriously if it’s not for a grade. There’s a reason we’ve never done it this way: It will never work. I can’t motivate a student without grades. 

Of course, I had a lot of questions for the vocal participant, but more on…

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Jared Colley

Jared Colley has been Upper School Head of Learning & Innovation at the The Mount Vernon School (GA) since July 2020. Previously, he was English Department Chair at The Oakridge School (TX) since August 2010. He has been an OESIS Network Leader since August 2017.