ERIC Number: ED450158
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2001-Jan-9
Secondary Science Teachers' Classroom Assessment and Grading Practices.
McMillan, James H.; Lawson, Sonya R.
This study investigated the assessment and grading practices of 213 secondary science teachers representing urban, suburban, and rural schools. Teachers indicated the extent to which they used various factors in grading students, the types of assessments used, and the cognitive level of these assessments. The results indicate a wide variation in practices. Teachers appear to conceptualize six major factors in grading students, placing greatest weight on academic performance and academic-enabling behaviors, such as effort and improvement, and much less emphasis on external benchmarks, extra credit, homework, and participation. Factor analysis for types of assessments used resulted in four components: constructed response assessments, assessment development, objective assessments, and major examinations. In terms of cognitive level of assessments, teachers differentiated between recall and higher-order thinking skills. However, there were few relationships among these components and grade level. With respect to ability level of the class, teachers of higher ability students tended to use types of assessments, cognitive levels of assessments, and grading criteria that mirrored those encouraged by recent literature, such as the use of performance assessments. Teachers of low ability students, in contrast, emphasized recall knowledge and graded homework, and focused less on academic achievement and higher order thinking. The results are discussed in light of other research indicating that teachers use a "hodgepodge" of factors when assessing and grading students. (Contains 6 tables and 18 references.) (Author/SLD)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Metropolitan Educational Research Consortium, Richmond, VA.
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A