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Assessment, learning, and student well-being, with undergraduates Jordan Leeson and Hyeonwoo Park 

Teach.Learn.Share: Episode three 

In a chapter of The Art and Craft of Teaching, Christopher M. Jedrey writes, “ … we can reduce the amount of unnecessary pain caused by grading and increase its usefulness to the students by thinking about how and why we grade.” Grades shouldn’t cause pain; they should allow students to gauge their learning. For that to happen, there needs to be a shift from grading students’ work to assessing their learning. The literature tells us that assessment is at the core of effective learning experiences (Schellekens et al., 2021) and, when focused on learning and clearly expressed to students, it can help reduce undue stress and anxiety (Shields, 2015). We asked McGill undergraduate students Jordan Leeson and Hyeonwoo (Woo) Park if they agreed that their well-being contributed to their ability to learn and if learning in turn contributed to their overall well-being. 

Listen to episode three of our miniseries on assessment and well-being to hear Woo and Jordan explain their perspectives on the emotions bound up with assessment and their potential impact on learning. 

Access the transcript

In our conversation with Jordan and Woo, we explore the possibilities that are opened to different kinds of learners when assessment tasks allow students to show their learning in multiple ways (such as infographics, presentations, projects, baking for biochemistry, and more!). Here are some other highlights from episode three: 

  • Jordan and Woo discuss examples of assessment tasks where they felt their learning and creativity were supported by their instructors. 
  • Following a first-hand account from Woo, podcast co-host Jasmine encourages thinking of ways instructors can engage students in talking about assessment. 
  • Jordan shares her experience with superficial and deep learning, as well as thoughts on intrinsic and extrinsic motivation to learn. 
  • Woo explains which kinds of assessment tasks prepared him for his professional experience. 

In our next episode of Teach.Learn.Share, we speak with graduate students about fairness and reliability in grading, student-instructor partnerships, and the positive impact small incremental changes in assessment practices can have on students’ well-being. Watch out for “Striking the right balance on assessment and well-being, with grad students Sakina Rizvi and Connor Sin-Chan” to hear the graduate student perspective on assessment for learning. 


Jedrey, C. M. (1984). Grading and evaluation. In M. M. Gullette (Ed.), The art and craft of teaching: Ideas, techniques, and practical advice for communicating your knowledge to your students and involving them in the learning process (pp. 103-115). Harvard University Press.  

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