Standards-based grading : moving toward equality of opportunity and advancement of learning for all students

WCU Author/Contributor (non-WCU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Catherine Andrews (Creator)
Christopher Barnes (Creator)
Jeremy Gibbs (Creator)
Western Carolina University (WCU )
Web Site:
Jess Weiler

Abstract: This disquisition aims to identify and explore: (1) the unintended, negative consequences of traditional classroom grading practices, (2) an alternative grading practice—standards-based grading—with its positive outcomes, and (3) a process for implementing reform via standards-based grading at a small, rural high school. The authors begin by critically examining the literature surrounding four traditional, common grading practices and detailing two shared and concerning outcomes: traditional grading practices (1) do not allow for the equitable treatment of students, and (2) hinder learning. Following this examination, the authors detail an alternative grading practice—standards-based grading—including its associated, positive outcomes and literature support.The authors detail their improvement initiative for transitioning one high school from a traditional to a standards-based-grading model. The implementation process included a full transition of two teachers’ courses from traditional to standards-based grading. Following their proposed improvement initiative, the authors evaluated the effectiveness of the intervention, including an analysis of stakeholder interviews and focus group results. Data obtained shed light on the advantages and disadvantages of the implementation process, as well as the positive and negative outcomes experienced by students, parents, teachers, and school leaders who participated in the transition from traditional to standards-based grading.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2016
Grading, Grading practices, Leadership, Standards-based grading
Grading and marking (Students)
High school students -- Rating of
Effective teaching
Evaluation -- Standards
Examinations -- Design and construction
Learning -- Evaluation
High schools -- North Carolina -- Alleghany County

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