Improving Student Learning with Aspects of Specifications Grading

Teaching Philosophy 44 (1):29-57 (2021)
  Copy   BIBTEX


In her book Specifications Grading, Linda B. Nilson advocates for a grading regimen she claims will save faculty time, increase student motivation, and improve the quality and rigor of student work. If she is right, there is a strong case for many faculty to adopt some version of the system she recommends. In this paper, we argue that she is mostly right and recommend that faculty move away from traditional grading. We begin by rehearsing the central features of specifications grading and providing two examples of how to implement it in philosophy classes. In light of the examples, we argue that specifications grading fulfills two of Nilson’s central desiderata but not the third. Since specifications grading generates two benefits that when combined increase student learning, without adding or increasing burdens, we conclude that student learning increases when courses are revised to include aspects of specifications grading.

Similar books and articles

Collaborative learning in engineering ethics.Joseph R. Herkert - 1997 - Science and Engineering Ethics 3 (4):447-462.
The Case for Motivational Grading.John Immerwahr - 2011 - Teaching Philosophy 34 (4):335-346.
Fair Grades.Daryl Close - 2009 - Teaching Philosophy 32 (4):361-398.
Grading According to a Rubric.Maralee Harrell - 2005 - Teaching Philosophy 28 (1):3-15.
Assessing Grading.Christopher Knapp - 2007 - Public Affairs Quarterly 21 (3):275-294.
How to Assure Student Preparation and Structure Student-Student Interaction.David W. Concepción - 2005 - Discourse: Learning and Teaching in Philosophical and Religious Studies 5 (1):107-119.
Improving the Student Experience.Elizabeth Staddon & Paul Standish - 2012 - Journal of Philosophy of Education 46 (4):631-648.
Improving the Student Experience.Paul Standish Elizabeth Staddon - 2012 - Journal of Philosophy of Education 46 (4):631-648.


Added to PP

439 (#26,231)

6 months
174 (#4,535)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author Profiles

Sarah Vitale
Ball State University
David Concepcion
Ball State University

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references