About the course

Course code — Splash at Yale 2018 course H3133
7 April 2018, 10:35–11:30 a.m.
WLH 003 (100 Wall St)

Objective — We will examine questions such as: What are the purposes of academic grades, and what merits and limitations do modern grading systems present?  Are current grading practices justified, or are there more effective ways to motivate students and evaluate their learning?

More to explore


Close, D. (2009). Fair grades. Teaching Philosophy32(4), 361-398. doi:10.5840/teachphil200932439   [link]

Bostrom, R. N., Vlandis, J. W., & Rosenbaum, M. E. (1961). Grades as reinforcing contingencies and attitude change. Journal of Educational Psychology52(2), 112-115. doi:10.1037/h0045803   [link]

Anderman, E. M., Griesinger, T., & Westerfield, G. (1998). Motivation and cheating during early adolescence. Journal of Educational Psychology90(1), 84-93. doi:10.1037/0022-0663.90.1.84   [link]


Kohn, A. (1993). Punished by rewards: The trouble with gold stars, incentive plans, A's, praise, and other bribes. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company.   [link]


Brandt, R. (1995). Punished by rewards? A conversation with Alfie Kohn. Educational Leadership53(1), 13-16.   [link]


Thank you to Steven Gende, IB English teacher at North Broward Preparatory School, for inspiring me to question how widely accepted classroom practices—particularly grading—affect students' learning and happiness.

Also, thank you to Laurie Santos, professor of psychology at Yale University, for directing me to some of the psychological research I discuss in this course.