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Assessment 3.0

Assessment 3.0
Throw Out Your Grade Book and Inspire Learning

February 2015 | 152 pages | Corwin

Throw out gradebooks and meet the assessment system of the future!

Most educators take for granted that “A-through-F” grades are the best measure of learning. But Mark Barnes’s formula for feedback, titled SE2R (Summarize, Explain, Redirect, Resubmit), has delivered stunning results to the forward-thinking schools that have tried it.

Now you can tap into the power of SE2R to supercharge student learning and accountability. The method in this book will loosen and then break your classroom’s dependence on traditional grading systems that do little more than silence student voices.

Delving into what really motivates students, the book covers:

  • How GPA is a classic example of “the tail wagging the dog”
  • Utilizing mobile devices and social networks to maximize the benefits of SE2R
  • Addressing and overcoming bureaucratic resistance to change
  • Real-life case studies proving SE2R’s viability

Your greatest responsibility is to your students. Don’t wait another day to start dismantling the grading system that is currently “failing” them all.

"Revolutionary. Why? Tossing out grades does not equate tossing out learning. We spend a lot of time talking about data and growth. In Assessment 3.0, Mark Barnes focuses on the revelation and growth of the Independent Learner- our students. This is a great read for any teacher or administrator."
—Creed Anthony, Teacher/Writer of "Your Parent-Teacher Conference" weekly column on

"Mark Barnes is a leader and revolutionary voice in the movement to rid our educational system of an outdated assessment model. In Assessment 3.0, he delivers a persuasive pitch that current grading practices are both poor reflections of learning and damaging to students. Not only does he clearly define the problem, he offers a powerful solution with his SE2R model and delivers a blueprint for implementation that can transform classrooms and schools."
—Dave Burgess, Educator, Professional Development Speaker, and Author of Teach Like a Pirate

"Barnes is bold, insightful and right!  It is time to not only throw out your grade books, but all the misinformation in your brains that supports the need for grades! None of us became teachers so we could have color-coded grade books.  We became educators to make a difference in the minds of our students.  This book shows us how!"
—Russell J. Quaglia, President/Founder
Quaglia Institute for Student Aspirations

"This text contains outstanding resources for communicating to stakeholders who care about how assessment systems can impact student behaviors and performances.  If you are interested in changing how students and teachers view traditional grading systems, this book is a must read.  Assessment 3.0 can be a revolutionary tool."
—D. Allan Bruner, National Board Certified Teacher
Colton High School, Colton, OR

"Mark has done something important in writing this book. He argues--clearly and with hope--for specific, actionable change right now in our early 21st century classrooms. Here's the potential, here's the problem, and here's a way forward. This is a practical model for ed reform in general."
—Terry Heick, Director of TeachThought

"Nothing destroys a student’s creativity and passion for learning as fast or as completely as grades. Mark Barnes examines how that happens In Assessment 3.0, but he does much more than simply critique standard assessment tools, which have remained virtually unchanged in America for over 100 years. The veteran teacher guides readers through a fascinating investigation of how throwing out grades, while embracing digitally-enhanced independent learning, fosters a superior learning environment—one that also does a far better job of developing real-world skills that prepare students to excel in the world of tomorrow. This book has completely transformed how I approach teaching, and I can’t recommend it highly enough to anybody interested in the future not just of education but also our nation."
—David Cutler, National Association of Independent Schools Teacher of the Future
ontributor, The Atlantic and Edutopia

Chapter 1: The Trouble With Assessment 2.0
Chapter 2: When 2 + 2 Doesn't Equal 4
Chapter 3: SE2R–A Formula for Change
Chapter 4: Coppell Middle School East
Chapter 5: Involving Students
Chapter 6: Feedback in a Digital World
Chapter 7: Tips for Success
Appendix A: Feedback From the Field

Appendix B: SE2R Feedback Quick-Reference Guide

Appendix C: SE2R Feedback You Can Use Today


"This book will convince any reluctant educator to rethink the traditional grading system. If Mark's vision can become a reality, students will be prepared for a world that doesn’t reward A’s and condemn F’s.”

Angela Maiers, Educator, Author, Speaker and Founder of Choose2Matter

"With a crisp, engaging style, Mark Barnes challenges us to re-think the notion of assigning traditional grades.  Full of helpful examples and tips for success, Assessment 3.0 offers a feedback model that is differentiated, student-focused, and results-oriented."

William Sterrett Educational Leadership Faculty Member and Program Coordinator, Author of Insights into Action.

"Current achievement-driven, testing and grading-focused school cultures offer little insight into teaching and learning—often fostering negative self-esteem and pressure on students. Through logical argument, practical instructional moves, and a clear passion for children and their learning needs, Mark Barnes pushes our thinking and invites us to imagine a different path for education. I look forward to sharing Assessment 3.0 with colleagues. It promises to be a game-changer for schools."

Donalyn Miller, Author of The Book Whisperer and Reading in the Wild

"Barnes is bold, insightful and right!  It is time to not only throw out your grade books, but all the misinformation in your brains that supports the need for grades! None of us became teachers so we could have color-coded grade books.  We became educators to make a difference in the minds of our students.  This book shows us how!"

Russell J. Quaglia, President/Founder
Quaglia Institute for Student Aspirations

"Mark Barnes is a thoughtful, reflective, practicing educator and a prolific writer. In this book he is able to make a solid case for doing away with grades as we have come to understand them over the centuries. Many educators struggle with grades and their effect on true learning and Mark underscores the many reasons for this. He puts in place a plan to eliminate grades and empower learning as a result. His 21st Century approach to meaningful assessment is a breath of fresh air to educators who are tired of hearing from anyone, but educators, as to what assessment should be.

In this book Mark explains the history of assessment, describes why it is not working, and provides a strategy to change from what we are doing with assessment to what we as educators should be doing in regard to meaningful assessment. This may be the jumpstart needed to get a meaningful and long overdue dialogue started."

Tom Whitby, co-author of The Relevant Educator
Key features

This book is a deeper dive into and a follow up to a system initially introduced in the author's first book. The author's SE2R system is already successfully in use with a number of teachers and is the basis for this new look at classroom assessment. This book will clearly outline SE2R and offer clear steps to implementation along with case studies, models, strategies, and tips.

Appendix A- Feedback From the Field contains a number of quotes from educators using this system successfully and Appendix B is a Quick Reference Guide to processes and terms in the book.

Sample Materials & Chapters


Chapter 5

For instructors

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