Achieving "A's for All (as Time and Interest Allow)"

Dan Garcia, Connor McMahon, Yuan Garcia, Matthew West, Craig Zilles

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The SIGCSE-MEMBERS mailing list of the ACM Special Interest Group in Computer Science Education is the main forum for educators worldwide to discuss computing education research, pedagogy, and curriculum. In early 2022 it was abuzz with several connected movements: growth mindset, proficiency (aka mastery) learning, grading for equity, and specifications grading. Each of these is an important step toward the Holy Grail: A's for All (as time and interest allow); the "A"line doesn't move, but every student should be given an opportunity to achieve proficiency and earn it, as long as they are willing to put in the time and effort it might take. The mantra is not "fixed time, variable learning", but "fixed learning, variable time". The goal of this full-day workshop is to provide educators and administrators with tools to achieve it in their courses and institutions. One useful analogy is that enrolling in a course is like taking a trip by bus: there is one speed for everyone, it lasts 10 or 15 weeks, and at the end of the trip a calculation is made regarding what percentage of the pile of points has been earned, and an A-F grade is assigned. What happens when someone needs (or wants) to travel slower, and as a result will get off the bus? Do they wait a whole term for the next bus? Can they work on their own? Do they get on the "local"bus that goes slower, perhaps with a supportive cohort who also needed to go slower? This is typically not allowed by our assembly-line model of learning, yet there are many ways that an institution can support these students, which we will address. From ten miles up, what are all the elements that have to align to allow it to happen? It helps to have a leader who is passionate about equity, supported by their administration, and willing to put in a significant amount of work up front. Many in this Learning@Scale community who have already moved their traditional University class to a MOOC will find those efforts bearing fruit here. If the course is the first through the gate to adopt this model, there may be socialization among colleagues that is needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationL@S 2022 - Proceedings of the 9th ACM Conference on Learning @ Scale
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Number of pages4
ISBN (Electronic)9781450391580
StatePublished - Jun 1 2022
Event9th Annual ACM Conference on Learning at Scale, L@S 2022 - New York City, United States
Duration: Jun 1 2022Jun 3 2022

Publication series

NameL@S 2022 - Proceedings of the 9th ACM Conference on Learning @ Scale


Conference9th Annual ACM Conference on Learning at Scale, L@S 2022
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityNew York City


  • assessment
  • communities of practice
  • pedagogy
  • scalable

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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