Toward Generative Assessment: Challenging punitive systems of grading

Outreach Description

Grading often emphasizes critique in ways that inspire fear and disengagement. This workshop will explore how generative assessment can affirm students’ interests, development, and academic skills. We will also provide instructors with tools to tackle one of the most unpleasant and labor intensive aspects of teaching: grading!

This workshop was offered as part of the TLC’s 2023 Mid-Winter Institute.

This workshop took place via Zoom as an online, synchronous workshop on Jan 23th – 12:00-1:30 pm, prior to the beginning of the spring semester. The workshop and materials were developed by TLC Fellows, Molly Bauer and Kristi Riley.


All materials on this page and in the linked google folder are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (CC-BY-SA) 4.0 International Public License.

This folder contains outreach materials, workshop agenda, slides, and activities used in the workshop.

Materials Folder: Toward Generative Assessment [Public]


12:00-12:10 | Welcome

  • Getting Started
  • Grading & Feedback Check-in (Jamboard)

12:10 – 12:25 | Introduction to Generative Assessment

  • Workshop Goals
  • Motivations
  • Generative Assessment & Adjuncting
  • Core Principles
  • How Generative Assessment Works

12:25 – 12:45 | Activity: Participant Polling

    • Polling (Mentimeter)
  • What feelings or emotions do you experience when grading and providing feedback?
  • What do you want your students to take away from grades and feedback?
  • Break-out rooms discussing results
    • View Results

12:45 – 1:00 | What Makes Feedback Generative? 

  • How is Generative Assessment Different from Traditional Forms of Grading?
  • Exploring Abolition Pedagogy
  • Generative Assessment is about Building
  • Generative Assessment Centers Student Potential
  • Generative Assessment Requires Flexibility
  • Structures for Syllabi
    • Template

1:00 – 1:25 | Activity: Generative Feedback Matrix

  • Strategies for practicing generative feedback
  • Collective brainstorm (Miro)
  • Group discussion of the matrix

1:25 – 1:30 | Q&A and Exit Slip


Activity: Grading & Feedback Check-in (Jamboard)

Instructions: Choose one of the circles below and place it on the image to the right based on how you view grading and feedback.

  • X axis: Grading
    • Institutionally Required→ Fundamental to Learning
  • Y axis: Feedback
    • Feedback justifies the grade→Feedback encourages further learning

Activity: Participant Polling (Mentimeter)

Polling Questions

  • Word Cloud (one word response): What feelings or emotions do you experience when grading?
  • Bubbles (short answer): What do you want your students to take away from grades and feedback?

Break-out Room Reflection Questions

  • What are your initial responses to the word cloud? What trends do you see?
  • What do you think causes these feelings?
  • What trends do you notice about people’s hopes for giving feedback? What are people trying to impart to their students?
  • What is one practical thing that would help make giving feedback/grading a better experience?

Activity: Generative Feedback Matrix

Word processing version of matrix in workshop folder.

Instructions: Draft comments that could fit these guidelines and be adapted for individual feedback.

Questions to consider: What are the types of comments you frequently give and how can you frame them to produce a generative environment?