Grading for Equity Virtual Institute

June 28, 2021 – June 30, 2021  |  9:00 AM PST


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About the Institute

When a teacher assigns a final grade, it is a high-stakes reporting of a student’s performance and has major implications for our students—course placement, extra-curricular eligibility, scholarships and financial aid, college admission, etc. Our grades are the most formalized expression of our professional judgment and expertise, yet unfortunately, and ironically, we receive almost no education or training in how to grade.


Do we grade in ways that support 21st century principles or do we unwittingly reinforce century-old beliefs about academic and intellectual capacity (fixed mindset) and myths related to extrinsic rewards? How do many of our common grading practices unintentionally reward students with more resources and penalize those with fewer supports, thereby perpetuating achievement and opportunity gaps? How can teachers dedicated to equity and using culturally-sustaining and liberatory instructional practices for their classroom ensure that their grading practices align with, rather than undermine, their beliefs? Recognizing that our schools are facing unprecedented challenges this fall, how can we grade in ways that support the range of instructional models as well as reduce students’ (and our own) stress?


Join us for the Grading for Equity Virtual Institute on June 28 — 30 for teachers from 9:00am – 12:00pm PST + 12:30 – 1:30pm PST each day for an interactive and expertly guided examination of the theory, skills, mindsets, and practices necessary to improve grading to be more accurate, bias-resistant, and motivational for all students. We will explore how more equitable grading and assessment can be a lever for creating stronger teacher-student relationships and more caring, engaging classrooms, and improve achievement for all students, particularly those historically underserved.


Led by the author of Grading for Equity, Joe Feldman, and his colleagues, Dr. Shantha Smith and Mark Boswell, the Grading for Equity Virtual Institute (designed primarily, but not exclusively, for middle school and high school teachers as well as school and district administrators) will synthesize education research and practical classroom-based experiences to address:

  • Why is improving grading so critical to ensuring both academic excellence and equity in classrooms?
  • What is the genesis of our current grading practices, and what were ideas and beliefs on which they were based?
  • How do current grading practices thwart effective teaching and learning, convey misleading and inaccurate motivation, demotivate students, amplify stress and undermine our equity work, perpetuating the very disparities we seek to interrupt?
  • What grading practices are more accurate, bias-resistant, and build students’ intrinsic motivation to learn?
  • What are common challenges and effective approaches to successfully integrate these practices into our classrooms, schools, and districts?


Participants of this Institute will:

  • Understand the history of our current approaches to grading, and recognize the ways in which our continued use of those practices undermines equity and restricts how we want our students to experience learning and how we want to teach.
  • Learn equitable grading practices that are more accurate, bias-resistant, and motivational, and envision the challenges and opportunities of implementing the practices into our classrooms and contexts.
  • Reflect on previous experiences and beliefs with grading, and find connections and disconnections between those experiences and more equitable grading practices.
  • Begin to plan for implementation of more equitable grading practices in our classrooms, schools, and districts.



This remote event will blend online and offline experiences so that participants have time and space to learn, reflect, pause, and engage meaningfully with the content and colleagues. The three-hour session each day will include online synchronous breakout groups and short presentations as well as offline readings, exercises, and videos. After an extended break, a one-hour session is for assigned groups to work together to understand and apply content, and to prepare for the next day’s learning.



This Grading for Equity Institute translates into a two-unit course (or approximately 15 hours of professional development), although it is up to each school or district to make that ultimate determination. Each participant will be provided a Certificate of Completion.



Teachers: $850


Groups of 4 or more will receive $50 off each ticket

The option of choosing to pay via purchase order or credit card will be available upon registration. All purchase order submissions are due by June 21 and will be considered a binding agreement to pay within 30 days of receipt of invoice. Submit PO here.

Grading for Equity Institute participants will receive an Institute supplement package that will arrive prior to the event as long as registration has been completed before June 18. Any registrations after this date will have access to materials in PDF version inside the event platform but will receive their event package post event.

Monday, June 28

Morning Session

9:00 AM – 12:00 PM

I.      Welcome and Introductions

II.    Why Grading? Why Grading for Equity?

III.   History of Grading and its Impact on Teaching and Learning

IV.   Equitable Grading: The Three Pillars

V.    Equitable Grading Practices: Accuracy Pillar

VI.   Close

Afternoon Session

12:30 PM – 1:30 PM


I.     Connect/Work with Home Group

Tuesday, June 29

Morning Session

9:00 AM – 12:00 PM

I.     Day 2 Welcome

II.    Equitable Grading Practices: Bias-Resistant Pillar – Implicit Bias

III.   Equitable Grading Practices: Bias-Resistant Pillar – Institutional Bias

IV.   Equitable Grading Practices: Motivation Pillar

V.     Close

Afternoon Session

12:30 PM – 1:30 PM


I.     Connect/Work with Home Group

Wednesday, June 30

Morning Session

9:00 AM – 12:00 PM

I.     Day 3 Welcome

II.    Possibilities and Challenges for Equitable Grading

III.   Imagining Possibilities for Equitable Grading in your Classroom and School

VI.   Planning for the Future (Fall 2021 and Beyond)

V.     Close




1. When does registration close?

Registration will close on June 18.

2. How do I pay by purchase order?

Select “Pay by Check” during the checkout process.

3. How do we register a group?

After entering your information and selecting your Institute ticket, click on the blue icon of a plus sign next to a person figure on the top right corner of your screen. Fill out the information for your next attendee and repeat until you have registered your entire group in one transaction.

4. How would I pay for my group under one purchase order?

Register all attendees in your group under one transaction.

5. How can I learn about alternate ways to connect and get support with equitable grading?

Please fill out this interest form where the Grading for Equity team can inform you of further opportunities to collaborate:

Payment via Purchase Order

1. Where should I make the Purchase Order out to?

Crescendo Education Group, LLC (note the LLC and comma after “Group”) 360 Grand Avenue, Suite 71 Oakland, CA 94610

2. Where do I submit my completed purchase order?

Please submit your purchase order to

3. When is the purchase order submission due by?

Purchase orders should be submitted by June 21. The received purchase order is considered a binding agreement to pay within 30 days of receipt of invoice.

4. I will need a phone number and email in order to add Crescendo education as a vendor at my school, what can I use?

Phone Number: (650) -793-9393 


5. Where can I find Crescendo Education’s W-9 form?

All billing contacts will receive an email post registration that has a linked W-9 form. If you are not the billing contact, yet still need a W-9 form please reach out to

6. Who can I contact for further billing instructions?

Please contact Jen Brown:

Institute Materials

1. What address will my package be sent to?

Your institute package will be sent to the address that you input under shipping address during registration unless the Grading for Equity team was told otherwise.

2. How can I change my shipping address?

Email Ciara Martinez with your new address by June 17.

3. When will I receive my institute package?

Be on the look-out for an email that will let you know that your package has shipped. Shipping dates are June 11,15, and 18. Anyone who registers after June 18 will receive their institute package post event.


1. What will we learn at the Institute?

Day 1 is an exploration of our own, and our nation’s, history of grading, its impact on teaching and learning and how it undermines equity, and an introduction to the Grading for Equity Framework, and practices that support the Accuracy Pillar.

Day 2 builds on Day 1, and focuses on the Bias-Resistance Pillar and Motivation Pillar of the Grading for Equity Framework.

Day 3 begins to integrate the three pillars and the equitable grading practices and consider how to implement these practices in our classrooms and schools.

2. Is this the right opportunity for a school, district, or organization who is looking to “train the trainer” and build internal capacity to lead this work in Fall 2021?

The Institute is designed to build capacity to build understanding of the “why” and “what” of equitable grading, and to begin to learn the “how”. For teachers, it leads to the question: “What will I try in my classroom next year to make my grading more equitable?”

For those who are responsible to support others in their school or district with equitable grading, the Institute will help you consider how you will support others with their learning about equitable grading. Just as you don’t go to a yoga retreat and then teach others to do yoga, by the end of this Institute, you are not (and should not) be expected, responsible, or even advised to be the “resident expert” and to teach others to implement equitable grading. You should instead, through your experiences trying practices or in your understanding of the larger ideas and principles underneath equitable grading, facilitate others’ learning about those practices and ideas, and to support them to try those practices too!

3. I already read Grading for Equity and/or completed the Grading for Equity online course. How will this be different?

While we will incorporate many of the topics included in the online course, and addressed more comprehensively in the book, the Institute is designed to be an interactive learning experience that incorporates conversation, reflection, and exercises to deepen understanding of equitable grading practices and that allow for participants to engage with the work at different levels depending on their experiences and context. 

It is also an opportunity to build connections with other educators across the country–in public and independent schools, in rural, urban, and suburban schools, in K-16 contexts, and serving a wide range of students and communities–all of whom are part of an impassioned group working to make grading more equitable that you get to join. Plus, for those attending as a team from your site, it provides a shared learning experience that supports future collaboration and coordination.


Day of Event

1. How do I log into the platform?

Attendees will gain access to the platform a few days before the institute. An email will be sent to the email used to register that has a magic link to the virtual venue. Make sure to only use a CHROME browser.

Afternoon Session

1. What time is the afternoon session?

12:30pm – 1:30pm PST

2. Can I still attend the Institute if I cannot attend the afternoon session?

Yes you may, please send a note to letting us know.

3. What will happen in the afternoon session?

The afternoon sessions will be a chance to connect, reflect, and extend your learning in a smaller group setting.

4. How do I enter into my breakout during the afternoon session?

Point your cursor at the breakout room you are looking for and click your mouse until your avatar has made it to that room.


1. Does Crescendo Education offer scholarships or free institute access?

We are sorry to say that this year we are unable to distribute free access or scholarships. We appreciate the interest!

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