Labor-Based Grading Contracts: Professional Development Workshop

Panel organized by Alicia Fahey and Joe O’Brien

This panel aims to shift the power and politics of grading through a collaborative workshop on labour-based grading contracts. According to Asao Inoue, rethinking assessment based on “labor or effort or engagement” makes sense because these concepts “arguably are much closer to the act of learning than a draft or portfolio because these dimensions (i.e. labor and effort) embody the experience of learning itself” (12).

We invite five-minute papers from scholars at any stage in their career, including those who are still pursuing degrees, to participate in a collaborative re-imagining of pedagogy that centralizes feedback and dialogue over assessment, ranking, and control. We are especially interested in participants who have developed labour-based grading contracts, or those who, like ourselves, are in the process of creating/implementing grading contracts. This workshop will bring together individuals to share ideas and strategies for moving towards practices of teaching and learning that center trust, process, and student autonomy. Topics may include:

  • Politics and power of grading
  • Labour-based grading and social justice projects
  • Writing assessment as ecology
  • Theorizing labour (its value and expression of value)

Propositions for papers (no more than 300 words), accompanied by a short biobibliographical note should be sent by 31 January 2021 to the two organising members:

Joseph O’Brien, Emily Carr University of Art + Design,

Alicia Fahey, The University of British Columbia,

All paper proposals can be written in French or English. Those who propose papers must be members of the ACQL by 1 March 2021. See the ACQL website ( for membership and registration information.

Works Cited:

Inoue, Asao. Labor-Based Grading Contracts: Building Equity and Inclusion in the

Compassionate Writing Classroom. University Press of Colorado, 2019.