Providing full credit (100%) for completing some assignments or assessmenets can be a great way to decrease ‘test stress’ and grade anxiety, gather much-needed feedback about student learning and skills development, and help to bolster grades.
Last November, I attended a NERCOMP sponsored Faculty Innovation PD session at Fairfield University. The first presenter was Carol Ann Davis, English Professor and Director of Curriculum Development for the Center of Academic Excellence. In her talk, Professor Davis discussed Low Stakes Assessments. This was not something I was familiar with, but I thought it made a lot of sense to consider and put into action.
BTW, I know this isn’t really an edtech topic, but emerging and evolving practices and assessment and grading are as interesting to me as emerging ‘edtech’, so I’m writing about it.
This article on DePaul University’s Teaching Commons site uses the term “low stakes assignments” while also clearly referring to them as a form of evaluation:
“Low-stakes assignments are forms of evaluation that do not heavily impact students’ final grades or other educational outcomes. The purpose of low-stakes assignments is to provide students with an indication of their performance while taking a course and give students an opportunity to improve their performance prior to receiving a final grade, either on an assignment or in a course.”
I think that captures it nicely. I also really like what Sarah Jones has to say about LSA in her MSU Inside Teaching article, “A Case for More Testing: The Benefits of Frequent, Low-Stakes Assessments“. This is her lead in, but the article is in-depth and very worth the exploring:
“What if I told you about this magical teaching practice that, done even once, produces large improvements in student final exam scores, helps narrow the grade gap between poorly prepped and highly prepped first year college students, and might even

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