ERIC Number: ED492005
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Apr
"It Wasn't Fair!" Educators' Recollections of Their Experiences as Students with Grading
Guskey, Thomas R.
Online Submission, Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (San Francisco, CA, Apr 2006)
Few educators receive any formal training in assigning marks to students' work or in grading students' performance and achievement. As a result, when required to do so, most simply reflect back on what was done to them and then, based on those experiences, try to develop policies and practices that they believe are fair, equitable, defensible, and educationally sound. Their personal experiences as students, therefore, may have significant influence on the policies and practices they choose to employ. This study explored educators' recollections of their experiences as students with grading. Data were gathered through questionnaires administered to 320 elementary, middle, and secondary school educators. Questionnaire items asked respondents to describe their most positive and most negative experiences with grading when they were students, and to explain the reasons for their feelings. Content analyses of questionnaire responses revealed that nearly 70% of educators at all levels indicated their most negative experiences occurred in college or university level classes. In the vast majority of those cases, the recalled experience related to perceptions of unfair treatment or personal bias on the part of their professors or instructors. No differences were identified based on respondents' experience, gender, or current assignment. Positive experiences were more evenly dispersed across elementary, secondary, and college level classes, showing that the high proportion of negative experiences in college or university classes was not be explained simply because they occurred most recently. Respondents' descriptions of positive experiences typically related to extremely challenging learning tasks assigned by the teacher that required exceptional effort. The teacher or professor then offered personalized guidance and assistance that resulted in a high level of performance or outstanding achievement. Although the specific influence of these experiences on educators' current grading and reporting practices remains unknown, these results offer clear insights into the factors that contribute to educators' personal perspectives on grading and reporting. In addition, they provide specific implications for reform efforts in grading policies and practices.
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A