What does the word “grades” feel like?

My first lecture was this morning. I borrowed an activity from David Buck (dbuckedu on Twitter) and asked students to respond to the question, “What do you feel when you see the word “grades?”” This is a wordcloud of their responses:


I have roughly 100 students who contributed a total of 22 different words. Thirteen of these words were “stress”. We did this activity before any mention of grading in this course, and it simply validates work of others and illustrates the primary reason I practice ungrading.

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