Barry Fishman

47 minutes

Justin Reich is joined by Barry Fishman, professor of education and information at the University of Michigan where he studies the use of technology to support teacher learning,  video games as models for learning environments, and the role of education leaders in fostering classroom-level reform involving technology. Together they discuss the 50th Anniversary edition of Wad-Ja-Get? The Grading Game in American Education with Barry Fishman’s new introduction, as well as grading systems during the pandemic, “Gameful Learning”, and issues with grading in general.

“Grades remove information from the system. Rather than me knowing what a learner has learned, I know that they have an A or a B or a C. What does that mean? It doesn't mean really anything at all, especially if it's a B or a C... And maybe you throw a curve in. That's even worse. Curves really remove information from the system, and they ration success. This is one of the worst problems with grading, I think, is that they were really designed for ranking and sorting. They were never designed to encourage learning.”  - Barry Fishman


In this episode we’ll talk about:

  • 50th Anniversary edition of Wad-Ja-Get?
  • What are the problems with grading?
  • Pandemic grading systems
  • Student autonomy and dealing with ambiguity
  • Common objections over Pass/Fail
  • Alternative forms of evaluation
  • Gameful Learning


Resources and Links

Learn more about Barry Fishman and his work!

Check out Wad-Ja-Get?: The Grading Game in American Education with a new introduction by Professor Barry Fishman!

Check out Justin Reich’s book, Failure To Disrupt!

Join our self-paced online edX course: Sorting Truth from Fiction: Civic Online Reasoning

Join our self-paced online edX course: Becoming a More Equitable Educator: Mindsets and Practices




Produced by Aimee Corrigan and Garrett Beazley. Recorded and mixed by Garrett Beazley


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