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  • Writer's pictureConvening Storytelling Team

AFL Voices: Stories from Aurora

Rita Harvey

Center for Innovation in Education

For the 2024 year of learning, the Assessment for Learning Community is zooming in on two practices associated with assessment for learning practices: grading (Aurora, Colorado, January 2024) and culminating performance assessments (Oakland, CA, May 2024). In January 2024, in Aurora, Colorado, we convened to visit two schools who were exploring innovative grading practices: New Legacy Charter School and William Smith High School.  We conducted empathy interviews and discussed alternative grading practices. 

As part of capturing the learning from convenings, we engage members of the AFL Community and host communities to engage in storytelling. We encourage them to share their stories in a range of formats, and focus on the knowledge that is most important to them. This can include the content of the convening, emotions that arise during the convening, and the learning that happens in the liminal spaces. Through the range of voices, we get a deeper sense of the learning that happens and how people take it home. 

Over the next few weeks, we invite you to share in the stories of our learning about grading and empathy (and so much more) in Aurora. We will hear from members of the Assessment for Learning Community, as well as educators from New Legacy Charter School. 

If these stories excite you, we also invite you to join the AFL Community in Oakland (May 15-16th, 2024) to engage in shared learning about culminating performance assessment systems. We have a few BIPoC sponsorships and storytelling positions available, if you are interested in sharing your voice with the community. Please email for more information.


AFL Values Quiz

Name: ________________ Date: _____________ Period: ___________

True or False

  1. Current grading practices are unfair and disadvantage already marginalized students.

True False

  1. Our current system is working fine the way it is.

True False

  1. A good way to measure skills is through multiple choice tests like this one.

True False

  1. Traditional exams are flawed and biased towards students more comfortable with them.

True False

  1. It is impossible to motivate some students so it’s not worth it to tailor lessons to them.

True False

Multiple Choice

1. Which of the following would be the best ways for a student to demonstrate their knowledge and skills? (Select multiple answers)

a. Multiple Choice tests

b. Essays

c. Demonstrations

d. Interest-based projects

2. Which of the following would benefit students the most in the real world?

a. Multiple Choice tests

b. Project based learning

c. Essays

d. Short answer responses

3. Fundamentally, what do we want our students to do the most?

a. Complete worksheets

b. Finish all of their homework

c. Learn and grow as people

d. Finish their classwork every day

Constructed Response

What is the most important thing to you that your students learn? Is it more important that they can take and pass a test or that they are learning real world skills? What can you do to change testing in your classroom to make it more fair and equitable?



Chris Santangelo, New Legacy Charter School

Chris is a Denver native who has worked in nonprofits and education in the city for five years. They're passionate about revolutionizing education and fixing broken systems to make sure all students can succeed. They currently teach Humanities and run the concurrent enrollment program at New Legacy Charter School.

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