How do I make sure I’m not “giving away an A?”
At the end of the semester we encourage instructors to reflect on any instances where they feel like students have received a high grade but not really done enough work or learned what was hoped at the outset. We’ve observed two things that can address this situation:
Grade accurately. Don’t award points on an assessment that don’t match up to how the student genuinely performed. Because gameful systems allow students many opportunities to do work, this will quickly build to an A that you’ll feel like doesn’t represent how much they’ve learned, or the effort they’ve put in. If you can help students see what they aren’t doing successfully, and enable them to resubmit the assignment until they do achieve it masterfully, you’ll be happy with the grade you’ve awarded them and what they’ve learned.
Play out a model of what anticipated student behaviors are, and explore how easy or hard it is to achieve each grade. We have sample spreadsheets that can help you map this out. Consider whether each pathway and behavior leads to a grade that feels appropriate. This sort of ‘gut check’ has helped us prevent obvious gaps in the assessment design, identifying spaces where more assignments are needed for student autonomy, or grade thresholds aren’t set quite high enough.