Grading For Growth, the book, is now available
Here's how to get it, and some thoughts about it
We’re very happy to announce, officially, that our Grading For Growth book is available for purchase. You can get a copy on the Routledge Press website, or on Amazon, and in either print or e-book formats.
Our book has been in preparation for over two years, and this blog has been a pivotal vehicle for trying out ideas, arguments, and alpha-version drafts of some of the chapters. That means you’ve been a part of this book as well, so before we say anything else: Thank you to all of our readers for helping this happen.
We conceived the idea for this book after a random hallway interaction in Mackinac Hall, home of the Math Department at Grand Valley State University1. We had both been using alternative grading methods and occasionally comparing notes. In our conversation that day, we realized that what we had learned about alternative grading might be useful beyond GVSU.
Long story short, about this time last year — and following a blur of a summer where we spent 1-3 hours a day, 4-5 days a week in collaborative writing sessions on Zoom — we finished the manuscript and sent it in to the publisher. This month, the book went live on the publisher website and Amazon, and physical copies started showing up in real life.
It’s a surreal experience, after so much time and energy spent doing research and writing, and putting it all together into a coherent package with a consistent and compelling message, to actually hold a copy in our hands and see people posting photos of it on Twitter2. It’s humbling, joyful and somewhat terrifying.
What we’re most proud of with this book is that it is not only a compendium of compelling moral and scientific arguments to move from traditional grading to alternatives. It is also, and primarily, a book of blueprints whose goal is to help ordinary faculty implement alternative grading themselves. We believe alternative grading is revolutionary; and all good revolutions involve getting the tools for change into the hands of ordinary folks.
David spent his sabbatical in Winter 2022 conducting interviews with dozens of rank-and-file college faculty about their alternative grading practices. The heart of the book consists of seventeen case studies from disciplines ranging from math and chemistry, to religious studies and library science, and points in between. Those case studies culminate in Chapter 11, a self-paced workbook for designing an alternative grading system yourself. We believe and hope you will come away with a sense that not only is a switch to alternative grading badly needed, but also — and more importantly, in our view — that it’s doable, even if you’re in a highly constrained work setting.
Some have asked us what’s going to become of the blog now that the book is out. We’ll continue to post articles every Monday, as we always have. But we, personally, will be dialing back our contributions, so you can expect to see an article from David once a month and one from Robert once a month rather than switching off weeks like we had done. We’re doing this because we really believe the next phase of this blog is to highlight the work and the voices of others. So we’ll be featuring a guest post every third Monday, and then the last Monday of the month will be something extra — it might be a roundup of other blog posts or news items about alternative grading, or a curated best-of post, or something else.
We are incredibly grateful for the opportunity to write about this important subject both on a blog and in a book. And we’re grateful for you, the readers, for giving us the inspiration to do it each week. We can’t wait for you to get our book into your hands (or Kindles, etc.) and into those of your colleagues.
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Neither of us can pinpoint exactly when this happened. Since it was in a physical hallway, it might have been as early as 2019; Fall 2020 seems more accurate. Or, we could be imagining the whole thing.
Or whatever it is we are calling Twitter right now.