ERIC Number: ED205074
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-May
Reference Count: 0
Implications of Differential Faculty Grading Standards and Practices by Academic Field. AIR Forum 1981 Paper.
Prather, James E.; And Others
The opinions of 514 college faculty concerning their grading philosophies, grading patterns, and their knowledge of how grades vary among fields were surveyed and classified according to demographic characteristics of the faculty. Approximately half of the respondents expressed the opinion that there is great variation in the meaning of a letter grade across academic fields. Faculty in fields that emphasize factual and cumulative course content tended to maintain that they grade lower than other fields, emphasized written tests and quizzes as factors in assigning grades, and expressed confidence in the letter-based system. In contrast, faculty in fine arts, education, and health expressed less confidence in the conventional grading system, held that a 'B' grade reflects average undergraduate performance, and used nonquantifiable factors, such as attitude and effort, in assigning student grades. In general, the faculty seemed more certain of how their own grades compare with other grades in their own field than about grades across fields. A majority of the faculty expressed the opinion that a department should set standards of performance. When asked to rank factors in the order of importance in determining a student's final grade, 59 percent of those teaching undergraduate courses and 35 percent of those teaching graduate courses listed tests and quizzes as the most important factor. It is suggested that faculty grading standards and practices are very strongly influenced by academic field. A faculty questionnaire is appended. (SW)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: AIR Forum
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Forum of the Association for Institutional Research (21st, Minneapolis, MN, May 17-20, 1981).