# Marking and Grading Grading and Marking l Primary

- Slides: 20

Marking and Grading

Grading and Marking l Primary function: – Clear communication to: Pupils. l Parents. l Counselors. l Other teachers. l Other schools. l College admissions officers. l Employers. l

Grading and Marking Three audiences are most important: – Parents. – Students. – School administration. Poor or incorrect grading procedures can have deleterious consequences. Can you think of some of these?

Critical Purpose of Grading and Marking: Communication l Communication about the pupil’s academic achievement. – Summary judgement about how well the student has mastered instructional objectives (learning targets). l Grades: – Should be concise without loss of information. – Should minimize errors in interpretation. – Should inform, not conceal or confuse.

Grading and Marking l Incidental functions of grading: – Feedback. – Motivation. – Guidance. l Should never be used for punishment or reward.

Grading as Judgement l Grading requires Teachers’ judgement – Teachers know their students best. – Judgements are based on: information about the student (test scores, book reports, performance assessments, informal assessments, etc. ). l some basis of comparison for translating information about the student into a grade. l – Question: Do we need the same information for ALL students?

Possible Bases for Grading and Marking Consider the following bases for making decision about students’ grades: Comparisons with aptitude or ability. Comparisons with improvement. Comparisons with effort. Comparisons with other students. – Comparisons with standards. – Combinations of grading bases. – –

Bases for Grading and Marking: Comparisons with Aptitude l Give high grades to students who perform above their ability. – Requires an estimate of ability. – What is over-achievement? – What is under-achievement? l There are numerous flaws with basing grading and marking on comparisons with ability.

Flaws Associated with Comparisons with Aptitude Estimates of ability tend to be informal and unreliable. l Low correlation between (estimates of) ability and achievement. l Regression to the mean: l – Low ability kids always score closer to the group average on achievement. – High ability kids always scores closer to the group average on achievement. – Lower aptitude kids get lower scores on achievement but receive higher grades. – Higher aptitude kids get higher scores on achievement but receive lower grades.

Bases for Grading and Marking: Comparisons with Improvement = Posttest – Pretest l Posttests and pretests may be informal assessments. Problems include: – We need to understand what this implies. – Gain (difference) scores tend to be unreliable. – The lower the correlation (between pre- and post-) the more susceptible to regression effects. – Negative correlation between initial status and improvement. – Higher grades go to students who know less; low grades to students who know more.

Bases for Grading and Marking: Comparisons with Effort Typically used in elementary grades… l to manipulate motivation. l to “protect” or foster self-esteem. Students who appear to learn easily seem less deserving than those who struggle. Requires sound measures of effort.

Bases for Grading and Marking: Comparisons with Other Students l “Grading on the curve. ” l Fixed percentages of students get As, Bs, etc. l Readily understood by parents, students, others. l Appeals to common sense. l For classroom assessment, grading on the curve has several disadvantages.

Problems with Grading on the Curve l. A certain percentage must pass; must fail. l Setting percentages is arbitrary. l Not particularly effective in communicating achievement status. l Actual standards tend to fluctuate with class to class performances. l Also: looking for natural gaps in the distribution of scores doesn’t work.

Bases for Grading and Marking: Comparisons with Standards Students’ independent performances are judged. l All students have potential for achieving the highest grade. l Meaning of grades based on (clear) standards is easily communicated. l The difficulty is in setting standards, which can shift up or down without teachers awareness. l

Combining Various Bases for Grading and Marking: Hodgepoge Grading Sometimes any one basis is seen as unsatisfactory. l Achievement combined with effort is common—especially in elementary grades. l Often, teachers use whichever procedure yields the highest grade. l All combinations reduce the effectiveness of grades to communicate what it is that is being graded. l

What should a teacher do? There are no perfect solutions. l Grading on the basis of preset, fixed standards is probably best in terms of effective communication about academic accomplishments. l However, setting standards is a difficult undertaking. – It requires considerable reflection. – Standards must be reasonable and obtainable. l

When grading, answer these three questions l Against what standard will I compare my pupils performance? l What aspects of pupil performance will I include in my grades? l How will different kinds of evidence be weighted in assigning grades?

What about using zeros? “One of the worst offenses in grading is the indiscriminant use of zeros…. Not completing an assignment does not mean zero achievement or learning. ” James H. Mc. Millan (1997). Classroom Assessment: Principles and Practice for Effective Instruction, p. 317.

“Rarely does a zero in a grade book represent actual performance on an assessment. This is interesting, because that is exactly what a zero for an academic grading component should represent. Zeros should not be used for other purposes because they distort the picture of the students true performance. ” Jo D. Gallagher (1993). Classroom Assessment for Teachers. p. 419.

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