Neurodivergence and Intersectionality in Labor-Based Grading Contracts
This article explores how labor-based grading contract (LBGC) systems can be informed by neurodivergence. To date, little research has described how grading contracts impact students of varying neurological abilities. This article addresses this gap by investigating how neurodivergent students experience LBGC systems. Neurodivergent students face increased academic and emotional labor, thus shifting power and ease of access in such contract-grading classrooms to neurotypical students who may be more adept at "performing" academic labor. First, we articulate the ways in which neurodivergence is defined and made invisible, how it manifests in our writing classrooms, and the ways in which our institutions uphold normative conceptions of neurological ability. Second, we illuminate how grading contracts, by altering the activity systems of schooling and writing classrooms, create barriers to accessibility that heighten neurodivergent students' experiences of schooling- and grade-related anxiety. Finally, they offer an ethnographic exploration of ways to unite the socially just aims of LBGC systems with the intersectional lens inherent in a consideration of the neurodivergent student experience.
Keywords: neurodivergence, grading contracts, academic labor, assessment theory, disability studies