Grade Surprise Transformative Learning Community

Grade Surprise Transformative Learning Community

Award: $2000
Deadline: 11:59PM, February 1, 2024

Have you ever noticed how students respond to the grade they receive on the first assignment of the semester? A student’s emotional response to that first grade may influence their overall performance in the class, their feeling of belonging, and possibly their ultimate choice of major. It turns out that the grade surprise students experience is rooted in how well they are performing in all their other courses and is experienced by students in all demographic groups. Using learning analytics data and a variety of communication strategies, participants in the Grade Surprise Transformative Learning Community (TLC) will craft an intervention to address grade surprise in their Fall 2024 course for the purpose of helping students succeed.

Participants will meet 3 times during both the Spring and Fall 2024 semesters. During Spring 2025, all TLC members will share the results of their interventions in a public forum at IUB.

This TLC expands on the work of “Addressing Grade Surprise in STEM Courses,” a previous Faculty Learning Community that ran from 2022-23, and IUB’s Mitigating Grade Surprise Project, which received funding from the American Association of Universities (AAU) in 2019. 

Each TLC instructor will receive $2000.00 in research funds for participating in program.


Learning Analytics is the study of students as learners through a process of systematic collection, exploration, and analysis of data describing students, their observable activities, and outcomes. The strategic planning process for IUB identified an objective to empower our faculty with analytics. The Center for Learning Analytics and Student Success facilitates a community of faculty engaged in the scholarly activity of understanding our current collection of data, suggesting new sources or models of data, and performing student learning research with that data.

You can find out more about each of the Student Learning Analytics Fellows Projects, including their original proposals and their final reports, on the CLASS home page.

All full-time instructors teaching a course in Fall 2024 at IUB are eligible to apply.

Previous Grade Surprise participants are welcomed to reapply.

To apply, please provide a brief proposal describing your interest in grade surprise and student success, and a letter of support from your department. Please indicate the Fall 2024 course in which the Grade Surprise intervention would take place, as well as the number of students typically enrolled.

  1. Cover sheet with the following information:
  • Name and department/school
  • Current appointment
  • The course name and number that you plan to conduct the grade surprise intervention in during the Fall 2024 semester. (Remember, you must be teaching this course in Fall 24 in order to join the TLC.)
  • Approximately how many students will be enrolled in the class
  1. Proposal describing why you want to participate in the Grade Surprise TLC. Feel free to mention any previous interest or experiences you may have in student success, learning analytics, or student belonging.
  2. Short CV
  3. Nominating letter from your dean, department head, or unit head

Information and Assistance

For questions concerning the Student Learning Analytics Fellows Program or support in conducting scholarly research on student learning, please contact George Rehrey , Director, Center for Learning Analytics and Student Success.