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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Teaching linguistics gotta catch ’em all: Skills grading in undergraduate linguistics

  • Author(s): Zuraw, K
  • Aly, AM
  • Lin, I
  • Royer, AJ
  • et al.

© 2019, Linguistic Society of America. All rights reserved. Dissatisfied with traditional grading, we developed a grading system to directly assess whether students have mastered course material. We identified the set of skills students need to master in a course and provided multiple opportunities for students to demonstrate mastery of each skill. We describe in detail how we implemented the system for two undergraduate courses, Introductory Phonetics and Phonology I. Our goals were to decrease student stress, increase student learning and make students’ study efforts more effective, increase students’ metacognitive awareness, promote a growth mindset, encourage students to aim for mastery rather than partial credit, be fairer to students facing structural and institutional disadvantages, reduce our time spent on grading, and facilitate complying with new accreditation requirements. Our own reflections and student feedback indicate that many of these goals were met.

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