Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Assessing the Meaning and Value of Traditional Grading Systems: Teacher Practices and Perspectives
by Neigel, Scott, Ed.D., University of Southern California, 2017, 183; 10683026
Abstract (Summary)

This study employed a mixed methods approach to evaluate the meaning and value of grades within a traditional grading system. Teachers’ grading and assessment practices were examined in terms of clarity, consistency, and to what extent assessment guided instruction. Teachers from a high-performing suburban high school in the Northeast responded to an electronic survey and participated in focus groups regarding their grading and assessment practices. Gradebooks were analyzed to triangulate teacher practices and perspectives regarding the meaning of student grades. Clark and Estes (2008) Gap Analysis Framework was utilized to assess knowledge, motivational, and organizational influences on teachers’ grading and assessment practices. The findings of this assessment revealed that teachers possessed knowledge about assessment and the motivation to apply it, but faced organizational barriers implementing effective practices in a traditional grading system. Responses indicated that teachers understood and used formative assessment during class, but also included it in students’ grades to elicit effort and ensure sufficient graded assignments to justify student performance. Organizational constructs such as marking periods and online grading systems, in addition to an overall lack of organizational support and training, were found to be substantial obstacles to teachers achieving the stakeholder and organizational goals. The findings of this study emphasized the need for enhanced training, collaboration, and communication on grading and assessment. The development and implementation of an effective plan to address these organizational issues could shift schools from using traditional grading systems to rank and sort students to assessment programs that promote student learning.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Stowe, Kathy
Commitee: Cash, David, Datta, Monique
School: University of Southern California
Department: Education (Leadership)
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 79/05(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Educational evaluation, Educational leadership
Keywords: Assessment, Formative assessment, Grades, Grading, Teachers
Publication Number: 10683026
ISBN: 978-0-355-57481-4
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