Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Effects of a Changed Grading Policy on Teacher Practices and Perceptions of Student Motivation and Learning
by Sergeant, Susan R., Ph.D., Notre Dame of Maryland University, 2020, 167; 28001306
Abstract (Summary)

Over the past 10 years, schools and teachers in a large Maryland school district had begun adjusting grading practices based on research supporting no zeros (minimum 50%) and reteach/redo models. Mathematically, in a 100-point scale, a zero unfairly skews a student’s grade. Furthermore, the reteach/redo reduces punishment for taking longer to learn something. In an effort to standardize practices, the district changed grading policies and regulations associated with them.

This phenomenological qualitative study investigated changes in middle school English teacher beliefs and perspectives as well as teacher perception of middle school students’ motivation and learning. Twenty-five middle school English teachers from 11 schools participated. Of the 25 teachers, 24 of them reported having changed their classroom practices along with the grading policy and team leadership. Twenty-two teachers reported seeing positive effects on all students, but especially those with special needs, English learners (EL), and those students eligible for free and reduced meals. Most teachers in this study reported that they did not assign zeros. The few that did (3) feel conflicted with the new policies and stated that the policies encourage laziness.

Teacher practices did not differ based on the populations served. The practices were more connected to teacher beliefs about the purpose of grades. The results of this study support the use of the no zero (minimum 50%) and reteach/redo to support middle school students as they transition from a nurturing elementary classroom setting to a more competitive secondary school setting.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Snyder, Angela
Commitee: Mark, Fenster, Dupuis, Juliann, Dwyer, Patricia, Slear, Sharon, Thrift, Gary
School: Notre Dame of Maryland University
Department: Department of Education
School Location: United States -- Maryland
Source: DAI-A 82/1(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership, Behavioral psychology, Education Policy
Keywords: Grading practices, Motivation, Policy, Student achievement, Teachers' perceptions
Publication Number: 28001306
ISBN: 9798662469556
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