This project has been guided in large part by Susan Blum’s recent book, I Love Learning; I Hate School which details her research on the contrast between how students learn and the way conventional education works. In combination with her other works, she argues that changing grading models is a strong solution for faculty who wish to focus on learning, rather than sorting or judging. These narratives demonstrate that while ungrading might be challenging, its risks are well worth the rewards.

Blum’s book also addresses what she calls “the game of school,” and how students behave in ways that maximize their advantage, especially when it comes to getting an A. Her work highlights a tension between learning and schooling: while many students express a desire to learn, they act in ways that seem contradictory to these goals. Students procrastinate, cheat, and fake enjoyment in their classes. One possible explanation for this is wellbeing, or a lack thereof. Students do want to learn, but they also want to find balance in their lives.

My research seeks to find out more about both student and faculty wellbeing at Middlebury and how it plays into behaviors surrounding learning, teaching, and grading.