SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — One Missouri State University professor is revolutionizing the way students are graded.

Dr. Chloe Bolyard, an Associate Professor of Elementary Education, has introduced a new grading system called “un-grading” in her classes at MSU. The system replaces traditional letter grades with more qualitative feedback and less stressful deadlines, allowing students to focus on their learning rather than just getting a good grade.

Bolyard shifted to un-grading in the spring of 2021. She replaced letter grades with assignment statuses and rubrics with self-assessments. The system has received positive feedback from her students, who say it makes them feel more liberated and allows them to take more risks in their work.

“When we got in, we kind of talked about the no-on grading. I was like, What is this? I have no clue what this means because all through I mean, starting third grade on I had an A or A plus or A minus like something that marked you’re doing great or you need to do better. And so when we kind of learned about un-grading, I took on the mentality that it was not grading for academics, it was grading for growth,” said Morgan Lank, a junior in Bolyard’s class.

Although students will still receive a letter grade at the end of the semester due to MSU policy, during the year there is little to no talk about grades. According to Bolyard, the change has been positive overall, with students worrying less about grades and focusing more on their learning. 

The un-grading system is a refreshing change for many students who have grown up with the traditional grading system. Dr. Bolyard’s approach is innovative and has the potential to change the way educators approach grading in the future.