skip to content
Specifications grading : restoring rigor, motivating students, and saving faculty time Preview this item
ClosePreview this item

Specifications grading : restoring rigor, motivating students, and saving faculty time

Author: Linda Burzotta Nilson; Claudia J Stanny
Publisher: Sterling, Virginia : Stylus Publishing, [2014] ©2015
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
You are not connected to the DePaul University Library network. Access to online content and services may require you to authenticate with your library. Remote Login
Getting this item's online copy... Getting this item's online copy...

Find a copy in the library

Getting this item's location and availability... Getting this item's location and availability...


Find it in libraries globally
Worldwide libraries own this item


Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Linda Burzotta Nilson; Claudia J Stanny
Author Notes:
ISBN: 9781620362419 1620362414 9781620362426 1620362422
OCLC Number: 892055584
Description: xxi, 153 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Contents: The need for a new grading system --
Learning outcomes and course design --
Linking grades to outcomes --
Pass/Fail grading for rigor, motivation, and faculty peace of mind --
Essentials of specifications grading --
Converting specs-graded student work into final letter grades --
Examples of specs-graded course designs --
The motivational power of specs grading --
Developing a course with specs grading --
An evaluation of specs grading.
Responsibility: Linda B. Nilson, foreword by Claudia J. Stanny.


In her latest book Linda Nilson puts forward an innovative but practical and tested approach to grading that can demonstrably raise academic standards, motivate students, tie their achievement of learning outcomes to their course grades, save faculty time and stress, and provide the reliable gauge of student learning that the public and employers are looking for. She argues that the grading system most commonly in use now is unwieldy, imprecise and unnecessarily complex, involving too many rating levels for too many individual assignments and tests, and based on a hairsplitting point structure that obscures the underlying criteria and encourages students to challenge their grades. This new specifications grading paradigm restructures assessments to streamline the grading process and greatly reduce grading time, empower students to choose the level of attainment they want to achieve, reduce antagonism between the evaluator and the evaluated, and increase student receptivity to meaningful feedback, thus facilitating the learning process--all while upholding rigor. In addition, specs grading increases students' motivation to do well by making expectations clear, lowering their stress and giving them agency in determining their course goals. Among the unique characteristics of the schema, all of which simplify faculty decision making, are the elimination of partial credit, the reliance on a one-level grading rubric and the "bundling" of assignments and tests around learning outcomes. Successfully completing more challenging bundles (or modules) earns a student a higher course grade. Specs grading works equally well in small and large class settings and encourages "authentic assessment." Used consistently over time, it can restore credibility to grades by demonstrating and making transparent to all stakeholders the learning outcomes that students achieve. This book features many examples of courses that faculty have adapted to spec grading and lays out the surprisingly simple transition process. It is intended for all members of higher education who teach, whatever the discipline and regardless of rank, as well as those who oversee, train, and advise those who teach.--Publisher website.

Table of Contents:

First Chapter:

Fiction Profile:

Retrieving notes about this item Retrieving notes about this item


Editorial reviews

Publisher Synopsis

"As an undergraduate, I often thought, 'After this course is over, I will learn the material, ' feeling that traditional grading got in the way of my learning. Specifications Grading offers a Read more...

Editorial reviews

Publishers Weekly

Library Journal

School Library Journal



Horn Book Review


User-contributed reviews


Be the first.
Confirm this request

You may have already requested this item. Please select Ok if you would like to proceed with this request anyway.

Close Window

Please sign in to WorldCat 

Don't have an account? You can easily create a free account.