Traditional grading can be problematic in first-year writing classrooms because (1) it creates a host of pedagogical issues and (2) it creates systemic inequities for students of color and multilingual students. In an effort to ameliorate many of the grading related problems, educators have experimented with alternative assessment methods, primarily labor-based grading in first-year writing classrooms. Though it hasn’t been extensively discussed in the field of composition and first-year writing, it’s still evident that research on labor-based grading isn’t new. What isn’t as well researched and understood, however, is how students perceive this alternative grading system. Do students believe that labor-based grading offers any benefits over traditional grading? Do students feel like they can be more in control over their writing with labor-based grading? Do students of color and multilingual students feel more included in this type of writing classroom? These questions, and others like it, are important to ask, and they start to uncover how students might feel about this new assessment method. This project explores students’ perceptions of labor-based grading in first-year writing courses. To accomplish the goals of this project, I undertook a teacher inquiry approach and utilized qualitative methods to interview students from Fall 2020 and Spring 2021. During these semesters, I taught first-year writing and utilized labor-based grading to determine final course grades.