8 Takeaways From Hacking Assessment

Takeaways from Go Gradeless

8 Takeaways From Hacking Assessment

By Melissa Pilakowski

Starr Sackstein’s Hacking Assessment not only revolutionizes education, but it gives step-by-step instructions on how to do it. That’s what makes this book so powerful.

Not only does Starr describe her classroom, but she also gives some strategies that readers can start implementing tomorrow. The infographic above outlines eight key takeaways from the book.

What I especially liked in the book was Starr’s description of her process of “going gradeless” in her school that requires grades. That’s certainly the boat that I’m in, and that most teachers in America are in, too. But she provides details on how she still met her school’s requirement for a “grade” through student conferences.

The strategies of conferencing with students and teaching them to grade themselves are two directions I’m following in the coming months.

Going gradeless will be a process for me. I won’t get there overnight, but my goal now is to “grade less”—to focus more on giving narrative feedback during the process, to conference more with students about final grades on papers, and to focus on students meeting standards rather than earning that A.

Are you going gradeless, or even shifting the conversation about learning? Please tell us how.

Melissa Pilakowski is an 11-12 English/Language Arts teacher in Valentine, Nebraska, as well as a passionate lover of language, technology, and gaming in the classroom. Follow her on Twitter at and read her latest adventures in teaching at .

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Hacking the Test (Part 1) explains how a test is NOT assessment and how teachers can shift the conversation about learning away from the test.

In this Hack Learning podcast episode, we revisit testing and share a story about how a second-grade teacher and his 7 year olds discover that a one-time test says nothing about learning, and they provide a better alternative to the traditional test.

This is Hacking the Test (Revisited).

Please share your thoughts on Twitter at #HackLearning and in our comments below. Don’t forget to like us on Facebook and engage there, too.

Hacking the Late Policy

It’s time to stop punishing students for turning in their work late. Author/educator Mark Barnes explains why late policies cripple learning and discourage students. Barnes provides simple steps for encouraging students to budget their time and one step for Hacking the Late Policy. Wait till you hear how Mark Barnes suggests that you Hack your own late work policy.

Thanks to a brilliant educator, Justin Tarte, for inspiring this podcast episode about late work policies in schools.

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Hacking the test on Hack Learning

Hacking the Test

Listen to “Hacking the Test” on Spreaker.

Teacher, bestselling author and Hack Learning creator Mark Barnes explains why traditional testing and assessment are not the same.

Barnes shares excerpts from Hacking Assessment: 10 Ways to Go Gradeless in a Traditional Grades School, by Starr Sackstein, focusing on anecdotes from classroom teachers who assess learning through observation, feedback, reflection, and metacognition.

Barnes challenges educators to find new paths to assessment. The conversation about assessment continues on Twitter at #HackLearning.

Love this? Don’t miss Hacking the Test Revisited.

Share your thoughts.