Current Arguments in Composition Series
“A useful tool for helping us assess the equity and inclusion of labor-based grading contracts in our own classrooms and for opening further avenues of research on the impact of this assessment methodology on students.”
“Provides a compelling, much-needed reminder that writing instructors must be purposeful, reflective, and responsive to all students when adopting new pedagogical practices.”
—Journal of Response to Writing
“Carillo offers a disabilities studies lens through which she explores the implications of labor-based contract grading among disabled and neurodivergent students, departing from the raciolinguistic lens that has informed much of the existing work on contract grading.”
—The Journal of Writing Assessment
The Hidden Inequities in Labor-Based Contract Grading intervenes in the increasingly popular practice of labor-based grading by expanding the scope of this assessment practice to include students who are disabled and multiply marginalized. Through the lens of disability studies, the book critiques the assumption that labor is a neutral measure by which to assess students and explores how labor-based grading contracts put certain groups of students at a disadvantage. Ellen C. Carillo offers engagement-based grading contracts as an alternative that would provide a more equitable assessment model for students of color, those with disabilities, and students who are multiply marginalized.
This short book explores the history of labor-based grading contracts, reviews the scholarship on this assessment tool, highlights the ways in which it normalizes labor as an unbiased tool, and demonstrates how to extend the conversation in new and generative ways both in research and in classrooms. Carillo encourages instructors to reflect on their assessment practices by demonstrating how even assessment methods that are designed through a social-justice lens may unintentionally privilege some students over others.