Earlier this week, SUNY Cobleskill welcomed author Joe Feldman to campus, for the first of two scheduled workshops. Feldman is presenting strategic insights on equitable grading practice, introduced in his book “Grading for Equity: What It Is, Why It Matters, and How it Can Transform Schools and Classrooms.” Members of the College faculty, professional staff, and President Terenzio’s cabinet were in attendance, along with educators from area postsecondary schools.

Feldman’s experience in education spans more than 20 years, in which time he has worked at the school, district, and federal levels. While he says much of the knowledge he has acquired over that stretch stems from working in K-12 settings, equitable grading applies to learners at all levels.

“College and university-level grading is more similar to traditional K-12 grading than some [in higher education] may care to admit,” says Feldman. He says two core relevancies – the ability to apply equitable grading to traditional classroom learning, as well as an understanding of how traditional grading can be detrimental to student-growth – link equitable grading practice to university-level education.

Presenting to high school and college educators in a shared environment also serves to enrich education on a comprehensive, community-wide scale. “Everything in traditional K-12 grading is evaluated and incorporated into traditional grading,” says Feldman, explaining the harm in this system as it relates to students. Grading at the College level is more big-picture, and yet traditional K-12 grading trains students only to do things that “earn them points,” explains Feldman.

Members of faculty and President Terenzio’s cabinet convene during a break in Tuesday’s workshop.

Dean of the College’s School of Business and Liberal Arts and Sciences Dr. Jeff Anderson says he was introduced to Feldman when he heard him on local radio. That led Dr. Anderson to make a personal purchase of Feldman’s book, followed by multiple purchases for those at the College, and culminating in hosting Feldman on campus. The second workshop is scheduled for May 22.

“I knew immediately what [Feldman] was talking about made sense,” says Dr. Anderson, of his “aha!” moment. After reading his book, he became further-convinced that Feldman’s perspective and intuition applied to grading practices at SUNY Cobleskill – and could positively influence student retention.

Feldman regularly visits institutions of higher and postsecondary learning, often working with schools and districts over the course of a full academic year. The May 22 session will serve as a follow-up for those able to attend this week’s workshop.