Summer Grant Project Author: Bryan Hiatt
Completed: Summer 2016
Abstract: This project was born from the idea that there has to be a better way to assess student writing. Any English instructor will tell you that grading a stack of papers is often a grueling and time-consuming experience. This was my starting point as well. What I discovered through research and writing is that, obviously, there isn't a better and easier way to do it but rather a different way. That is where contract grading comes in. This project relies heavily on the work of Dr. Asoa Inoue and Dr. Peter Elbow, who both employ contracts and portfolio systems in their courses. While they have some differences in approach, they both share the view that working with students in a decentralized system is preferable to one where the instructor makes all the decisions. For Inoue, it is about making the classroom a socially just space for the exchange of ideas, and for Elbow, it Is about working against an assessment culture that is often adversarial and unfair. For this project specifically, I focused my efforts on familiarizing myself with the relevant literature and producing a short bibliography, researching a contract that could be suitably adapted for EN101, updating a syllabus, creating assignment sets, and understand how retrofit Blackboard for a contract system. I accomplished all these goals.
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