ERIC Number: ED445051
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2000-Apr
Consequential Validity for High School Grades: What Is the Meaning of Grades for Senders and Receivers?
Baron, Patricia A. Bigham
The two major selection criteria in the college admissions process are high school record and scores on college entrance examinations. In recent years, concerns have been raised about the validity of college entrance examination scores and high school grades. This study examined the congruity of the meaning of grades between those who determine the grades (the senders) and those who in some sense use or interpret the grades (the receivers). A questionnaire was administered to 5 distinct groups: 60 high school teachers, 48 high school students, 41 parents of high school students, 115 high school counselors, and 46 college admission staff members. The results indicate that senders and receivers, in large part, agree about what grades comprise. There is disagreement among teachers, students, and parents about the frame of reference for grading (curve versus fixed). When asked to predict Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) I scores based on one of four versions of a high school transcript, parents and students estimated higher SAT I scores than the other groups; however, no differences related to the gender of the respondent or the gender of the student. Overall, the results indicate that while there is some disagreement regarding the relative importance of grade components, there is not a clear understanding of the reference scale for high school grades, and parents and students in particular hold some beliefs that are not in concert with the education community. By investigating beliefs held by groups of senders and receivers regarding the composition of grades, the underlying scale or meaning of grades, and the expected relationship with other measures of ability, such as aptitude test scores or college performance, some understanding of the consequential validity of high school grades has been gleaned. To the extent that messages sent and received are incongruous among these groups, the validity of grades for the purposes of the users of the grades is in question. An appendix contains the study questionnaire. (Contains 13 tables and 72 references.) (SLD)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (New Orleans, LA, April 24-28, 2000).