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Conference Theme: Learning Assessment, Evaluation & Grading: Are We Doing Justice?

Check back next spring for details of the May 2023 conference.

Date: Tuesday, May 24th, 2022
Time: 8:45am – 4pm
Location: Virtual

Sponsored by CELT, ETS, IRLI and New England Faculty Development Consortium with support from the Davis Educational Foundation.*

The challenges of the past few years, while difficult, prompted meaningful dialogue and critical reflection on the role and limitations of our current practices of assessment, evaluation and grading. Our long-held assumptions about teaching and learning were challenged, both because of the shift to remote teaching and because of our desire for equity, inclusion and justice. An ever expanding body of literature on assessment from an array of disciplines and written through the lens of equity, inclusion and justice, further informed changes in thinking about assessment in higher education.  We became curious about questions like:

  • Are we assessing for what matters most? 
  • Who benefits from traditional assessments, and who might be disadvantaged?
  • Are we over- or under-assessing - what is the balance?
  • How can we help students improve at assessing themselves? 

Faculty in New England and across the world responded with creativity, innovation, and experimentation, sparked by reflection on these and other questions.This year’s conference is an opportunity to share some of our work, and to extend and build on our inquiries and experiences. 

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Susan Blum, University of Notre Dame

Title: Assessing for Learning, Learning for Assessing: How to Foster Authentic and Meaningful Learning

Professor Susan D. Blum, Professor of Anthropology, University of Notre Dame 

Dr. Susan Blum, Professor of  Anthropology at Notre Dame University and author of “I Love Learning; I Hate School”: An Anthropology of College (Cornell University Press, 2016) and editor of Ungrading: Why Rating Students Undermines Learning (and What to Do Instead) (West Virginia University Press, 2020) will be this year’s keynote speaker.

A lot of familiar practices in higher education look as if they are immutable, but in recent years pedagogues have been questioning some of them. One of these is the centrality of grading. In this keynote workshop Dr. Susan D. Blum presents some of the reasons why increasing numbers of faculty at all levels are questioning conventional grading practices and instead implementing practices that fall under the larger umbrella of “ungrading.” Ungrading - moving the focus from grades to learning - contributes to authentic, joyful, learning and to the equitable practices that many faculty wish to see in our institutions.

 Link to Dr. Blum’s Full Bio

Article: Grades Can Hinder Learning. What Should Professors Use Instead?

Conference Schedule Overview

8:30 am Open Conference
8:45 am Welcome & Opening Remarks
9:00 am Keynote Address: Assessing for Learning, Learning for Assessing: How to Foster Authentic and Meaningful Learning
Dr. Susan Blum, PhD, Professor of Anthropology, University of Notre Dame
10:20 am Break
10:30 am Panel Discussion: Thinking Outside the Box – Experiments with Grading Alternatives (Facilitator: Dr. Susan Blum and panelists Dr. Amy Hirschfield, Tufts University, Dr. Bethany Lisi, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Dr. Ayanna Thomas, Tufts University)
11:45 pm Lunch
12:10 pm Welcome Back
12:15 pm Poster Sessions
12:45 pm Concurrent Session 1 (6 interactive sessions)
2:00 pm Concurrent Session 2 (6 interactive sessions)
3:10 pm Tufts Teaching with Technology Awards & Closing


View past Tufts teaching conferences.


*Supported by a grant received from the Davis Educational Foundation established by Stanton and Elisabeth Davis after Mr. Davis's retirement as chairman of Shaw’s Supermarkets, Inc.