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Schools often focus on assessing students, allowing institutions to endlessly rank and sort students based on whatever criteria are being evaluated. But assessments don't by themselves help students improve. Indeed, assessments are usually seen as the end, rather than the beginning, of any learning process. Tests allegedly show whether learning has worked, but they rarely indicate what learning is next. How might classes change if we worked to provide helpful, encouraging feedback instead of grading? What are the potential problems or challenges of that approach?

Laura Gibbs believes feedback — specifically, giving advice and support — makes learning and growth the center of any class. Hear her thoughts on providing meaningful feedback, separating feedback from assessment, working alongside students, and ungrading.

A complete episode transcript is available. Our theme music is by Blue Dot Sessions. This episode’s cover art is by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash. The show is hosted on, and you can subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. The full catalog of episodes, including show notes and complete transcripts, lives at