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Grading System Rationale

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Grading Systems - SCHOOL, HIGHER EDUCATION
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SCHOOL
Thomas R. Guskey
HIGHER EDUCATION
Howard R. Pollio
SCHOOL
Few issues have created more controversy among educators than those associated with grading and reporting student learning. Despite the many debates and multitudes of studies, however, prescriptions for best practice remain elusive. Although teachers generally try to develop grading policies that are honest and fair, strong evidence shows that their practices vary widely, even among those who teach at the same grade level within the same school.
In essence, grading is an exercise in professional judgment on the part of teachers. It involves the collection and evaluation of evidence on students' achievement or performance over a specified period of time, such as nine weeks, an academic semester, or entire school year. Through this process, various types of descriptive information and measures of students' performance are converted into grades or marks that summarize students' accomplishments. Although some educators distinguish between grades and marks, most consider these terms synonymous. Both imply a set of symbols, words, or numbers that are used to designate different levels of achievement or performance. They might be letter grades such as A, B, C, D, and F; symbols such as &NA;+, &NA;, and &NA;−; descriptive words such as Exemplary, Satisfactory, and Needs Improvement; or numerals such as 4, 3, 2, and 1. Reporting is the process by which these judgments are communicated to parents, students, or others.
A Brief History
Grading and reporting are relatively recent phenomena in education. In fact, prior to 1850, grading and...

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