Thanks for taking time to read Grading for Growth. Here’s what we’re about and what you can expect.

What is Grading for Growth?

Grading practices in higher education and elsewhere need a reboot. For too long, grades have gotten in the way of learning, and learners have focused on scoring points and playing school instead of on learning and growth. The good news is that we can change these practices, and many instructors are doing just that, using innovative grading methods that work with rather than against student learning: specifications grading, standards-based grading, ungrading, and more.

Grading for Growth is a newsletter/blog about this emerging revolution in grading. Once a week we’ll be bringing you research, news, and ideas on alternative grading practices to keep you informed and inspired. Our book based on these ideas, titled Grading for Growth, is available from Routledge.

Who are we?

We are David Clark and Robert Talbert, two professors in the Mathematics Department at Grand Valley State University.


We’ve been using specifications grading, standards-based grading, and other alternative assessment formats for several years in our courses. We’re excited to have you along.

Why subscribe?

By subscribing, you get full access to the newsletter and website and you’ll never miss an update. Every new edition of the newsletter goes directly to your inbox. You’ll also be part of a growing community of people who share your interests.

Photo Credits

The photo on our welcome page is by Ravi Roshan on Unsplash. Our logo is by Kelsey Brown on Unsplash.


Although we are both employed by Grand Valley State University, the views we express in the newsletter are ours and not necessarily the official views of the university.

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Research and ideas about reforming grading practices in higher education and beyond.


Associate professor of math at Grand Valley State University. Hiker, backpacker, and the least-winning boardgamer you've ever met.
Math professor, writer, bass guitarist, dad, Catholic. I write about alternative grading at gradingforgrowth.com and about working purposefully in academia at intentionalacademia.substack.com. Main website: rtalbert.org