Contract Grading in an English or Professional Writing Course

Instructor: Kati Ahern – Director of Writing Programs

Course/Department: English

Institution: SUNY Cortland

Subject: Professional Writing or Composition courses


Labor-Based (or “work-based”) Contract Grading is a system of grading based off the research of Asao Inoue (2015; 2018). It differs from traditional grading in that you do not receive a grade  based on the subjective quality of your work, but instead based on the labor (or work) you  complete within the course. In other words, you will receive feedback from me, comments,  suggestions for revision, encouragement, and support, but you will not receive an “A, B, C, D, or  E” based on how “well” you completed the project. 

Use Contract Grading for all projects, asking students to submit an assignment with core specs, criteria, or requirements then with option of up to 3 + parts, moving scores from a B to B+, A-, or A. Also allowing for both open revision to meet criteria and acceptance of projects missing criteria scaling down to B-, C+, C, C-, D. (My examples included are a syllabus and FAQ sheet.)

Recommended Number of Students: Has been used with ~20-25 students
Time Requirements (Approximate): Can be completed in a semester time period


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