Colleges without grades: 10 colleges that offer education without grades

Colleges without grades came as a result of the rigid system of grades and evaluations that has become synonymous with the modern educational institution.

colleges that don’t give grades came about due to the discrepancies and the fact that the accuracy and consistency of grades as a measure of academic performance is increasingly being called into question, and grade reform is one of the most important educational reforms in the foreseeable future.

Though, the USA is not listed among countries with no grading system but there have been increase in high schools without grades, schools without letter grades, elementary schools without grades, high schools that don’t give grades, high schools without letter grades and school without grade levels.


Colleges without grades works on the notion that as college students, we receive letter grades for every class from primary school until the end of our college education.

There are already colleges that are eliminating or altering the system of grading so that students can reflect their individual strengths and abilities that may not be reflected in a single grade.

Colleges without grades: List of colleges that offer education without grades

Below is a list of ten colleges that offer alternative methods of evaluation in the place of A-F grades.

  1. Brown University

Brown University has a unique grading system in which students can choose which grading system they are participating in. Students can opt to be graded under the conventional grading system, but there are only grades of A, B or C, and there are no plus or minus signs in the grades.

There is no grade of D, and failing grades in classes are not recorded by Brown University. On the other hand, students can also opt to only show their grades as Satisfactory/No Credit, which is reflected on the external transcripts of the student.

  1. Hampshire College

Hampshire College is a college without grades, it allows students to personalize their education and pursue their academic and intellectual curiosity with their grading system.

Students are encouraged to design their own study programs and course schedules by providing the broad liberal arts education combined with the depth of specialized areas of concentration determined by the student.

  1. Antioch University

Antioch University is an American private university, with five campuses across four different states. The campuses are located in Los Angeles, California; Seattle, Washington; Santa Barbara, California; Keene, New Hampshire; and Yellow Springs, Ohio.

Antioch University uses the system of narrative evaluation as a substitute to the conventional grading system of A-F letter grades. This is done with contracts between faculty members and students that outline the requirements and objectives of their education.

  1. Sarah Lawrence College

Sarah Lawrence College uses a grading system which combines conventional letter grades with written evaluations by faculty of a student’s work. While the conventional grading system is kept in place for external purposes, the system of written evaluations is nevertheless an important component of a student’s learning experience at Sarah Lawrence College.

This is because it fits within the seminar-conference system that forms the basis of education at Sarah Lawrence College; students learn in interactive classes, called seminars, that typically have no more than 14 students. Conferences are one-on-one interactions between a student and their professor.

  1. Reed College

Reed College differentiates their grading system from that of conventional colleges by identifying the negative pressure that the traditional grading system has on students, and eliminating it from their school.

Reed College still records a conventional letter grade for every student, but the grades are not distributed to students. The rationale is that students can then focus on intellectual and academic pursuits instead of aiming for just a letter grade.

Colleges without grades: List of colleges that offer education without grades

Colleges without grades: List of colleges that offer education without grades

MORE COLLEGES WITHOUT GRADE

  1. New College of Florida

New College of Florida students must complete seven contracts, each one being a written agreement each semester to establish criteria for success. Typically, each contract will have three to five academic activities such as internships and independent study projects to enhance aspects of a student’s educational progress.

The grades are replaced with narrative evaluations provided by professors, which are believed to be more helpful because it gives faculty a better understanding of each student. This also translates into more personal and detailed recommendation letters in the future as graduates move onto their professions or graduate school.

  1. Evergreen State College

Evergreen State College encourages students to customize their education to suit their interests and goals. There are no required courses, and students develop their own academic plan in the form of Areas of Emphasis for themselves. Instead of A-F letter grades, the academic progress of students is measured with narrative evaluations provided by teachers. Evergreen State College equates this system of grading with receiving a letter of recommendation for every class, since prospective employers can get a better idea of the strengths and abilities of the student with the words of their teachers compared to just a letter grade.

  1. Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies

Fairhaven College is one of the colleges without grades and is an interdisciplinary liberal arts college of Western Washington University. Instead of the A-to-F grading system, students at Fairhaven University evaluate their own performance for their college courses. This self-evaluation is combined with a faculty member’s narrative assessment of the student’s work and performance.

This approach to grading is based on the belief that self-assessment and the ability for individuals to critique their performance honestly and effectively is an important skill for any student. Faculty evaluation is combined with student evaluations to form the academic history of the student.

  1. Prescott College

Prescott College is a private liberal arts college that aims to emphasize self-direction and internal learning through their grading system.

This is also a college without grade, the structure of grading involves narrative evaluation from professors that details how the students achieved their academic objectives throughout their time in the course. In addition, Prescott College integrates a student’s subjects into a coherent learning experience, since graduation programs culminate in Senior Projects that must be completed.

  1. Alverno College

Alverno College is a liberal arts college that emphasizes the personal approach to teaching and focuses on students as individuals. Instead of a letter grade, students at Alverno College receive a narrative transcript as documentation of academic learning and growth.

A combination of a rigorous assessment process by faculty and professors as well as self-assessment of performance will be combined in order for students to truly learn from their courses.


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