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Classroom Grading - Essay Example

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Classroom grading and marking is one of the most controversial issues in education. Critics and educators question the validity of classroom portfolios and grading for large-scale assessment purposes. The main questions concern objectivity of grading and criteria developed and applied by educators.
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Classroom Grading
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room Grading room grading and marking is one of the most controversial issues in education. Critics and educators question the validity ofclassroom portfolios and grading for large-scale assessment purposes. The main questions concern objectivity of grading and criteria developed and applied by educators.
Research studies (Blanke 1999) show that there is a mandate to change grading and assessment criteria in order to provide fair and unbiased analysis and evaluation of students' performance. Compounding difficulties in articulating substantive criteria for students' performance are the conflicts teachers feel in grading their students. Teachers struggle to balance achievement, effort, talent, student background, and context, and seem hesitant to make their criteria explicit and public for fear of losing the ability to individualize their grading practices. However, in their struggles to be fair to individual students and to use grades for motivational purposes, teachers may not realize that they are not holding all students to the same standards. Blanke (1999) admits "The ethics of grading begins with a determination of the educator's goals" (136).
According to Marzano (2000), grades are needed for: (a) administrative purposes to control students' performance; (b) for instructional planning, (c) feedback for students; (d) "guidance to students about future course work" (e) motivational purposes (45). Concerns about consistency of grading have received the most empirical attention in large scale programs rather than in classroom assessments. Marzano (2000) explains that: "there is no right way or wrong way to design grades, there are ways that fit best with a given set of assumptions or beliefs" (47).
The grades should include academic achievements of the students and their efforts during the course. The grades should evaluate thinking and reasoning skills, work completion and participation (Marzano 35). A variety of statistical analyses is conducted to examine potential bias and is often used in large-scale programs. The main problem is that the current grading system enables all students to demonstrate their ability to learn and current skills. If a teacher takes into account communication and teamwork assessing students, a shy and timid student could be graded C even if he has good skills and deep knowledge. For this is reason, communication, teamwork and attendance should not be included in grades. The main task of grading is to analyze and give feedback about 'progress and achievement', acquired knowledge and skills rather than behavior or communication patterns. Ediger (2002): "the instructor needs to be a student of using proper standards in developing tests and of measurement and statistics" (37). Problems of differences in background knowledge can be minimized if we are sure that all students have had ample opportunity in school to acquire the required knowledge and skills. Teachers must take care to assure that what is being measured has been taught and that their students have had the opportunity to learn relevant content and/or apply desired processes. Teachers have many indicators of student capability and are intimately aware of the conditions under which work is produced at school (Ediger, 2002). These issues should be taken into account by teachers in order to provide fair and objective assessment of students' performance.
The facts mentioned above show that to improve my grading practices, I should pay a special attention to personal skills and knowledge of every student in spite of his/her communication skills and interaction with peers. Also, I should pay attention to thinking and reasoning skills of students and their psychological characteristics. Also, I will limit the outcomes to those that are most important for their students and most significantly related to the institutional purpose. The process of identifying educational outcomes should be a natural, ongoing part of course and curriculum planning; the new dimension in the process is developing the linkages between institutional purpose and grading.
1. Blanke, H.G. (1999). Grading by Theory. College Teaching, 47 (4), 136.
2. Ediger, M. (2002). Problems in Grading Based on Testing University Students. College Student Journal, 36 (1), 37.
3. Marzano, R.J. (2000). Transforming Classroom Grading. Association for Supervision & Curriculum Deve. Read More
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