Building Student Agency Through Contract Grading in Technical Communication
The scholarship on contract grading has focused on the impacts in first-year writing, but little work explores how contract grading is used in other writing contexts, specifically technical communication. In fact, a focus on contract grading can align with the social justice turn in technical communication if viewed as a way to enact feminist and antiracist pedagogies. In this reflection, we--an instructor of an introductory technical communication service course and a student who took that class--share our experiences around contract grading. After providing an overview of the course and institutional context, we reflect together on our experiences around student perceptions and attitudes as well as the impact contract grading had on us as teacher and learner. We conclude with lessons learned and how instructors can take up contract grading in their technical communication classrooms. Our goal is to share our experiences that could lead to scholarship on assessment practices in the context of the field's social justice turn.
Keywords: contract grading, technical communication, student agency, social justice, feminism