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ERIC Documents Database Citations & Abstracts for Grading Policies and Practices in Higher Education

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Grading or Grades (Scholastic) [ERIC Descriptors]
Higher Education or Postsecondary Education or Undergraduate Study or College Instructions or Undergraduate Students [ERIC Descriptors]
Student Evaluation [ERIC Descriptor] OR Review Literature [Document Type]

  ED395631  JC960382
  Plus and Minus Grading Options: Toward Accurate Student Performance 
  EDRS Price - MF01/PC01 Plus Postage.
  Target Audience: Practitioners
  Although both the University of California and the California State 
University systems have the option to use plus or minus grades in 
student evaluations, the Board of Governors of the California 
Community Colleges (CCC) does not allow the use of such a grading 
system.  Since 1985, the CCC's Academic Senate has lobbied the Board 
to allow local governing boards to decide whether plus and minus 
signs can be used, and whether they would appear on student 
transcripts and figure into grade point averages (GPAs).  The primary 
motivation for using plus/minus grading is the ethical obligation to 
ensure consistent, fair, and accurate evaluations of student 
performance.  In addition, it would enhance efforts to be accountable 
to student needs and would improve equity in grading.  Under the 
current system, student achievement can differ by nearly 25% and 
still result in the same grade and grade value for GPAs.  
Implementation of a plus/minus system would have positive effects on 
student motivation, as well as on student retention, persistence, and 
success, due to the fact that it would provide more accurate 
information on student performance and help inform efforts to improve 
curricula and pedagogy.  Finally, the proposed system does not 
include a "C-" grade, and thus would not affect financial aid 
qualification, students' ability to transfer, or systemwide GPA.  
  Descriptors: Academic Achievement; Community Colleges; *Educational 
Change; *Educational Policy; Grade Point Average; *Grades 
(Scholastic); *Grading; State Regulation; *Student Evaluation; Two 
Year Colleges
  Identifiers: *California Community Colleges

  EJ530922  HE535696
  A Survey of Methods of Deriving Individual Grades from Group 
  Lejk, Mark; And Others
  Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, v21 n3 p267-80 Sep 
  ISSN: 0260-2938
  The literature pertaining to evaluation of student work in groups 
is reviewed, and a number of group assessment methods are identified.  
Two alternative methods used at the University of Sunderland 
(England) are described.  Issues and practical considerations in peer 
and self-evaluation of work in groups are also examined, particularly 
the tendency to over- or underrate individual performance.  (MSE)
  Descriptors: Case Studies; *Cooperative Learning; Evaluation 
Methods; Foreign Countries; *Grading; *Group Activities; Higher 
Education; Peer Evaluation; Self Evaluation (Individuals); *Student 
Evaluation; Weighted Scores
  Identifiers: University of Sunderland (England)

  ED384384  JC950344
  "A" Is for Average: The Grading Crisis in Today's Colleges.
  Farley, Barbara L.
  Jun 1995
  30p.; In its: Issues of Education at Community Colleges: Essays by 
Fellows in the Mid-Career Fellowship Program at Princeton University; 
see JC 950 341.
  EDRS Price - MF01/PC02 Plus Postage.
  Document Type: REVIEW LITERATURE (070);  POSITION PAPER (120)
  According to recent research, from Ivy League universities to 
community colleges only between 10% and 20% of students receive 
grades lower than a "B-," while the most frequently given grade is an 
"A." Causes of this grade inflation can be found in students' 
objections to receiving "D's" and "F's" after paying high tuitions 
and even the well-meaning intentions of faculty who feel that low 
grades demoralize students.  The issue is especially acute for 
community colleges, as many students have borderline skills and 
motivation for continuing their education.  Recommendations that have 
been proposed to reduce grade inflation include the following: (1) 
persuading faculty to regard "C+"/"B-" as the appropriate median 
grade; (2) noting median grades and class sizes next to course grades 
on students' transcripts; (3) indexed grading, where letter grades 
would be changed to two-number values, the first corresponding to the 
quality points assigned to student performance and the second to the 
average grade assigned by that professor for the semester, course, 
and section; (4) simply grading in tenths of a point from 0.0 to 4.0; 
(5) replacing the system of letter/number grades with word-based 
evaluations; and (6) using daily grades received through pop quizzes 
or short writing assignments.  The essential ingredient in any 
grading policy, however, is that information on criteria be 
effectively communicated before a course begins.  (Contains 8 
exhibits and 18 references.) (KP)
  Descriptors: Academic Standards; *Change Strategies; Community 
Colleges; Educational Improvement; *Educational Policy; Educational 
Trends; *Grade Inflation; *Grades (Scholastic); *Grading; Two Year 
Colleges; Universities

  ED393883  TM024785
  Refinement in Assessment Validation: Technicalities of Dealing with 
Low Correlations and Instructor Grading Variation.
  Rasor, Richard A.; Barr, James
  23p.; Portions of paper presented at the Annual Research Conference 
of the RP Group Granlibakken, 1993.
  Document Type: RESEARCH REPORT (143);  CONFERENCE PAPER (150)
  Issues and problems in assessment research are explored, with 
suggestions to help establish an acceptable correlation between 
student assessment scores and final grades.  Topics include assessing 
instructor grading variation, instructor grade point average (GPA), 
success rates, and lack of linearity in grade scales.  Solutions to 
these problems are offered in the form of a new four-point research 
grading scale and a new "contextual" student GPA based on cumulative 
grade average with the final grade in the target course removed from 
the calculation.  The contextual GPA was used to equate student 
"skill" levels in course selections when identifying the degree of 
instructor grading variation.  The techniques were applied to a 
sample of 6,077 students covering performance data in 26 courses.  
The magnitude of the resulting correlations suggests giving much 
greater emphasis to student cumulative college GPA as a multiple 
measure when establishing entrance "skill" levels deemed necessary 
for success in general courses having no specific course prerequisite.  
Practical suggestions are included for identifying the true 
correlation between assessment test scores and grades given the 
problem of instructor grading variation.  (Contains three tables and 
six figures.) (Author/SLD)
  Descriptors: *College Students; *Correlation; Educational 
Assessment; *Grade Point Average; *Grading; Higher Education; *Scores; 
Student Evaluation; Test Results; *Validity

  ED380492  TM022853
  College Grades: An Exploratory Study of Policies and Practices.
College Board Report No. 94-1.
  Ekstrom, Ruth B.; Villegas, Ana Maria
  College Board, New York, NY.; Educational Testing Service, 
Princeton, N.J.  1994
  Available From: College Board Publications, Box 886, New York, NY 
10101-0886 ($15).
  Document Type: RESEARCH REPORT (143)
  Policies and practices related to grading at 14 colleges and 
universities (8 public and 6 private) and how they have changed 
between 1980 and 1990 were studied along with the grading 
orientations and practices of over 500 faculty members.  Changes 
between 1980 and 1990 that may have affected grades include greater 
prescription of the curriculum, greater differentiation in grading 
systems, and increased use of student evaluations of faculty members.  
While none of the department chairpersons said there were specific 
departmental grading policies, about one quarter of the faculty felt 
that there was a policy of grading against specific standards, and 
about two-thirds said that their departments expected them to grade 
against specific standards, even though there was no defined policy.  
Some faculty members perceived grades as formal and objective, while 
others thought they could not be reduced to objective measures.  Most 
believed that grades are higher than they used to be because faculty 
expects less of students today.  Eighty-one percent of faculty said 
they sometimes used a criterion-referenced approach, but only 64% 
said they used it most often.  Twenty-nine percent used a norm-
referenced approach most often.  Twenty-four tables present study 
findings.  (Contains 91 references.) (SLD)
  Descriptors: Change; *College Faculty; Criterion Referenced Tests; 
Educational Policy; Educational Practices; *Educational Trends; 
*Grades (Scholastic); *Grading; Higher Education; Informal Assessment; 
Norm Referenced Tests; *Standards; Student Evaluation; Student 
Evaluation of Teacher Performance; Teacher Expectations of Students; 
Trend Analysis

  ED378893  HE028044
  Current Trends in Grades and Grading Practices in Undergraduate 
Higher Education. Results of the 1992 AACRAO Survey.
  Riley, Herbert J.; And Others
  American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions 
Officers, Washington, D.C.  1994
  ISBN: 0-929851-20-X
  Available From: AACRAO Distribution Center, P.O. Box 231, Annapolis 
Junction, MD 20701 ($15 for members, $18 for non-members).
  Target Audience: Administrators; Practitioners
  A national survey of trends in college grading practices was 
conducted in 1992 by gathering data from college registrars.  The 
survey instrument, which had been field-tested, was sent to 
registrars at 2,302 institutions and responses were gathered from 
1,601 (70 percent response rate).  Among the general findings were 
the following: (1) 97 percent of respondents indicated their 
institutions use some form of a letter grading system and 90 percent 
use a 4.0 grading scale; (2) data showed movement away from including 
transfer grades in both grade point average calculations and in 
making honors determinations; (3) 98 percent of institutions allow 
faculty to authorize a grade of "incomplete" in special 
circumstances; (4) there was great variation between institutions on 
the time period at which grade changes are no longer allowed and on 
deadlines for students to drop courses without the enrollment 
appearing on the permanent academic record; (5) 86 percent of 
institutions allowed students to repeat courses to better their 
grades, and the majority of these included the most recent or highest 
grade in the student's cumulative grade point average.  Appendixes 
contain the survey instrument, further tables of data, and American 
Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers member 
profiles.  (Contains 48 references.) (JB)
  Descriptors: Academic Records; Academic Standards; *Educational 
Trends; Grades (Scholastic); *Grading; *Higher Education; National 
Surveys; Registrars (School); School Policy; Student Evaluation; 
Tables (Data); *Undergraduate Study

  EJ505268  HE533792
  Everything You Need to Know about Developing a Grading Plan for
Your Course (Well, Almost).
  Hammons, James O.; Barnsley, Janice R.
  Journal on Excellence in College Teaching, v3 p51-68 
  Journal availability: OAST, Miami Univ., Oxford, OH 45056.
  ISSN: 1052-4800
  This article provides information on designing a college course 
grading plan.  It reviews the history of grades; describes and 
discusses common approaches to grading; examines the purposes of 
grades, problems with current practices, and situational factors to 
consider in selecting an approach; and proposes eight principles to 
observe in developing a grading plan.  (JB)
  Descriptors: *College Instruction; Criterion Referenced Tests; 
Educational History; Educational Quality; *Evaluation Methods; 
*Grading; Higher Education; Mastery Learning; Norm Referenced Tests; 
Pass Fail Grading; Planning; *Student Evaluation
  Identifiers: Mastery Grading

  ED358323  CE063872
  College and the Workplace: How Should We Assess Student 
Performance? EQW Working Papers.
  Cappelli, Peter
  National Center on the Educational Quality of the Workforce, 
Philadelphia, PA.  1992
  Sponsoring Agency: Office of Educational Research and Improvement 
(ED), Washington, DC.
  Document Type: REVIEW LITERATURE (070)
  The fact that college grades are poor predictors of future job 
performance is a cause for concern.  A more important issue is 
assessment, for course grades cannot measure many of the work-
relevant skills that a college education provides.  Selection tests 
are one effort to identify and establish those characteristics of 
applicants that predict future job success.  If classroom grades 
could be broken down to reveal performance in such areas as verbal 
ability or memory, they would be indicative of subsequent job 
performance because they would essentially duplicate ability tests; 
ability tests, however, are typically three to four times better at 
predicting job performance.  Another way to obtain information on a 
job candidate is through what is called "bio-data"; detailed 
information on extracurricular activities may reveal knowledge, 
skills, and abilities (KSAs) acquired by a student outside 
traditional classroom settings.  Many colleges experiences provide 
what is the equivalent of work sample tests.  Another way to get at 
the question of what predicts job success is to look directly at the 
requirements of jobs.  Job analysis refers to systematic efforts to 
collect information about the work requirements associated with 
particular jobs.  Job analyses either focus descriptions on the job 
and tasks performed or are written from the perspective of the worker 
and describe the KSAs required.  The basic sets of KSAs could be 
developed more thoroughly in college instruction.  The greatest 
improvements in assessment could be made by simply assembling 
existing information about student performance in more innovative 
ways.  An appendix provides descriptions of some of the most widely 
used job analysis systems and identifies the KSAs that are stressed 
in them.  (Contains 17 endnotes and 32 references.) (YLB)
  Descriptors: Academic Achievement; Adult Education; College 
Graduates; College Students; Competence; Educational Testing; 
*Education Work Relationship; *Grades (Scholastic); Grading; Higher 
Education; *Job Analysis; *Job Performance; *Job Skills; Predictive 
Validity; Student Behavior; *Student Evaluation; Success  

  EJ505266  HE533790
  "We Must Think Anew."
  Milton, Ohmer
  Journal on Excellence in College Teaching, v3 p19-32 
  Journal availability: OAST, Miami Univ., Oxford, OH 45056.
  ISSN: 1052-4800
  Document Type: POSITION PAPER (120);  JOURNAL ARTICLE (080)
  This article examines undergraduate course tests, letter symbol 
grades, and grade point averages within the context of three dominant 
undergraduate models of instruction: (1) information dispensing; (2) 
training of scholars; and (3) personnel selection agency for society.  
Argues for critical examination of these forces and models to prevent 
the deliberate distortion of national standardized testing.  (JB)
  Descriptors: College Instruction; Educational Philosophy; 
Educational Quality; *Educational Testing; *Grade Point Average; 
*Grading; Higher Education; *Outcomes of Education; Role of Education; 
Scores; Standardized Tests; *Student Evaluation; Test Bias; Test 
Construction; Testing; Test Validity; *Undergraduate Study

  ED350900  HE025876
  Academic Standards in Higher Education. Selective Admission Series.
  Loeb, Jane W.
  College Board, New York, NY.  1992
  ISBN: 0-87447-445-0
  Available From: College Board Publications, Box 886, New York, NY 
10101-0886 ($10.95, plus $2.95 postage and handling).
  Document Type: GENERAL REPORT (140)
  Target Audience: Administrators; Practitioners
  This report explores some of the complexities involved in setting, 
maintaining, and judging standards in higher education, and examines 
the interactive effects that the standards of schools and colleges 
have on each other, with special emphasis on the implications of 
selective college admission practices.  Focus is on whether current 
standards are really as low as feared and whether local and state 
attempts to raise them have met with success.  The report is 
organized into four focal points at which the standards within any 
particular segment of the educational system can be set and evaluated.  
First, the level of preparation of students when they enter a program 
determines what kind of curriculum can be offered.  Second, what 
students learn will be determined by what content is offered to them 
and also by how it is offered.  Third, standards are both set and 
reflected by procedures for judging student progress.  Fourth, the 
level of mastery students have achieved when they are certified as 
having completed the program is an important indicator of the 
standards in effect.  Additional discussions include college outcomes 
assessment and the difficulties in their measurement, and the 
determination of institutional quality.  Contains 86 references.  
  Descriptors: *Academic Achievement; *Academic Standards; Access to 
Education; Admission Criteria; College Bound Students; *College 
Outcomes Assessment; College Preparation; Curriculum; Educational 
Assessment; *Educational Quality; Educational Testing; Excellence in 
Education; *Grading; Higher Education; Minority Groups; Student 
Evaluation; Undergraduate Study

  EJ418521  HE527613
  Promoting Motivation and Learning.
  Lowman, Joseph
  College Teaching, v38 n4 p136-39 Fall   1990
  Document Type: JOURNAL ARTICLE (080);  REVIEW LITERATURE (070)
  Target Audience: Teachers; Practitioners
  A review of research on college student motivation and its 
relationship to learning looks at popular views of motivation, 
extrinsic vs. intrinsic motivation, the effects of extrinsic rewards, 
similarities to learning orientation and grading orientation, 
evaluation methods, and the power structure in the classroom.  (MSE)
  Descriptors: *College Instruction; College Students; Educational 
Research; *Grading; Higher Education; Learning Motivation; 
*Motivation Techniques; *Power Structure; *Rewards; Student 
Evaluation; *Student Motivation

  EJ288937  SP513315
  The Grading Nemesis: An Historical Overview and a Current Look at 
Pass/Fail Grading.
  Weller, L. David
  Journal of Research and Development in Education, v17 n1 p39-45 
Fall   1983
  A brief history of grading practices at American colleges and 
universities is given, along with results of a survey of the current 
uses of pass/fail grading.  The pass/fail system is widely used for a 
limited number of elective courses.  Its adoption peaked during the 
mid-1970s.  (PP)
  Descriptors: *College Credits; Educational History; Educational 
Practices; *Educational Trends; *Grades (Scholastic); Higher 
Education; National Surveys; *Pass Fail Grading; *Student Evaluation

  ED235765  HE016752
  Quality from the Students' Point of View. AASCU Studies 1983-1.
  Chickering, Arthur W.
  American Association of State Colleges and Universities, 
Washington, D.C.  Sep 1983
  23p.; Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American 
Association of State Colleges and Universities (22nd, Nashville, TN, 
November 2, 1982).
  Available From: American Association of State Colleges and 
Universities, One Dupont Circle, Suite 700, Washington, DC 20036 
  Document Type: RESEARCH REPORT (143);  CONFERENCE PAPER (150)
  Target Audience: Administrators; Teachers; Practitioners
  Students' perceptions concerning quality in education, the norm-
reference approach to student evaluation, and the problem of 
assessing how much learning has occurred are discussed.  To one 
sample of students, quality meant desirable institutional 
characteristics and outcomes concerning their own learning and 
development.  Institutions are likely to have difficulty in measuring 
up to expectations for quality since students have different 
educational expectations, social and educational background, academic 
preparation, age, learning styles, and personal development.  In 
addition, the norm-referenced approach to evaluation is not 
appropriate for a diverse student body.  Problems in student 
evaluation include: each institution and teacher establishes private 
performance norms, the criteria for performance are seldom clearly 
articulated, and grades awarded depend primarily upon one student's 
performance relative to another.  Responses to the issue of 
educational quality and to the underlying complexities of evaluation 
and grading are recommended.  Attention is directed to: the need to 
recognize different types of competence and knowledge, the fact that 
standards should vary for different individuals and objectives, and 
the need to articulate evaluation criteria, methods, and evidence.  
  Descriptors: Academic Standards; *College Students; Comparative 
Analysis; *Educational Quality; Evaluation Criteria; Evaluation 
Methods; *Grading; Higher Education; *Norms; *Student Attitudes; 
Student Characteristics; *Student Evaluation
  Identifiers: *Diversity (Student)

  ED224426  HE015752
  Instructional Development Ways and Means. Testing and Grading.
  Young, Robert E.
  North Dakota Univ., Grand Forks. Office of Instructional 
Development.  1982
  92p.; For related documents, see HE 015 749-753.
  Available From: Office of Instructional Development, Box 8161, 
University Station, Grand Forks, ND 58202.
  Document Type: TEACHING GUIDE (052);  JOURNAL ARTICLE (080)
  Target Audience: Practitioners
  Perspectives on testing and grading are considered; and strategies, 
reference materials, and sample test items are presented.  Attention 
is directed to specific impacts of testing and grading on students 
and teachers, purposes of testing and grading, and common complaints 
of students and teachers.  Extra activities proposed for the teacher 
include discussing with colleagues the testing/grading purposes and 
keeping a record of student complaints regarding grading and tests.  
Several prerequisites are identified as important for test 
development: subject matter expertise; well-developed instructional 
objectives; mastery of written communication; an understanding of the 
individuals for whom the test is intended; and knowledge of the 
principles and procedures of item writing/test construction.  A 15-
step strategy for planning, implementing, and evaluating classroom 
tests is presented, based on test construction principles.  Extra 
learning activities are proposed for the teacher to provide 
additional information about testing principles and practices, 
practice with various aspects of test construction, and critique of 
the teacher's tests and testing procedures.  Several purposes of 
grading (reporting; decision making; and stimulating, directing, and 
rewarding students), and limitations of grading and norm- and 
criterion-referenced tests are considered.  A bibliography; 
information on score distributions; examples of types of test items; 
and articles on test reliability and validity, tables of 
specifications, and norm- and criterion-referenced tests are appended.  
  Descriptors: *College Instruction; College Students; Criterion 
Referenced Tests; *Educational Testing; Grades (Scholastic); *Grading; 
Higher Education; Norm Referenced Tests; *Student Evaluation; 
*Teacher Made Tests; Teaching Guides; *Test Construction; Test Items; 
Test Reliability; Test Validity

  ED285496  HE020730
  Assigning Course Grades.
  Frisbie, David A.; And Others
  Illinois Univ., Urbana. Office of Instructional Resources.
  Aug 1979
  37p.; Paper identified by the Task Force on Establishing a National 
Clearinghouse of Materials Developed for Teaching Assistant (TA) 
Training. Appendix A contains small, light type.
  Document Type: TEACHING GUIDE (052);  LEGAL MATERIAL (090)
  Target Audience: Practitioners
  A guide to help instructors establish grading policies and 
practices or review and revise current grading procedures is 
presented.  Advantages/disadvantages of four common comparisons used 
to determine grades are considered: comparisons with other students, 
comparisons with established standards, and comparisons based on 
learning relative to improvement and ability.  The following methods 
of assigning course grades are discussed: weighting grading 
components and combining them to obtain a final grade, the 
distribution gap method, grading on the curve, percent grading, a 
relative grading method using group comparisons, and an absolute 
standard grading method.  Variables that generally should not be used 
to determine course grades are identified, including class 
attendance, class participation, mechanics, and personality factors.  
Grading in large multiple-sectioned courses taught by different 
instructors is also covered, along with comparing grade distributions 
of similar courses in the same department.  Five basic grading 
principles are also discussed.  Appended are information on test 
statistics and regulations concerning grading at the University of 
Illinois.  (SW)
  Descriptors: Academic Standards; *College Instruction; Comparative 
Analysis; *Grading; Graduate Students; Higher Education; *Statistical 
Analysis; *Student Evaluation; *Teaching Assistants
  Identifiers: *Teaching Assistant Training Project; *University of 
Illinois Urbana Champaign

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