Following the first webinar on Specifications or Specs Grading held in February 2022, the Durban University of Technology (DUT) was honoured to have the inventor of this grading construct Dr Linda Nilson conduct a two-hour interactive Supporting Undergraduate Research Excellence (SURE) webinar on Wednesday, 29 June 2022.
Dr Nilson is the founding director emerita of the Office of Teaching Effectiveness and Innovation at Clemson University and renowned author of Specifications Grading: Restoring Rigor, Motivating Students, and Saving Faculty Time (2015). This nuance assessment focuses on how students can be motivated to learn and become responsible for their grades or performance, foster higher-order cognitive development and creativity, and achieve higher inter-rater agreement, among other benefits as documented in Nilson’s book.
During the webinar, Dr Nilson shared practical examples of how traditional grading can be converted to Specs Grading emphasizing that this grading construct can be adapted in part or fully into a course. She explained that the purest form of this new system offers a new gestalt on assessment, combining three elements: satisfactory/unsatisfactory grading of all assignments and tests, a token system that gives students flexibility, and “bundles” of assessments associated with sets of learning outcomes and final letter grades. By the end of the session, faculty were able to understand how they could transition one or more of their courses to a pure or hybrid version of Specs Grading as they acquired the know-how to draft specs for assignment and bundle assessments.
Given the encouraging feedback from colleagues both internal and external to DUT, another interactive webinar on Specs Grading is to follow in August 2022.
Pictured: Attendees at the SURE webinar.
Dr Anisa Vahed