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ERIC Number: ED510578
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 40
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 19
Promoting Thoughtful Faculty Conversations about Grade Distributions
Academic Senate for California Community Colleges
Assigning grades to student work, both during the academic term and as a summation of a student's mastery of subject matter, is a longstanding practice in all levels of education, from kindergarten through graduate and professional studies. Recently, a variety of factors have brought the criteria for assigning, and the resulting distribution of letter grades under heightened scrutiny. From increased attention from accrediting agencies, through new online services that publicize grades, to newly revised Title 5 Regulations, these forces require thoughtful faculty reflection, and an informed and collegial discussion on the rationale for the grades faculty assign to their students' coursework. Such discussions might well reveal practices that could both enhance the integrity of the grading system and improve student success. One purpose of this paper is to examine system data from the state Chancellor's Office about grade distributions within California community colleges; a second purpose is to identify some of the issues that need further exploration, and to encourage local faculty and senates to pursue such conversations. This paper does not propose specific criteria or practices to be used by faculty, though one of the recommendations of this paper is that further work should be done to explore that topic in more detail. Appended are: (1) Conversation Starters; and (2) Systemwide grades assigned, 1992-2006. (Contains 2 figures and 21 footnotes.)
Academic Senate for California Community Colleges. 555 Capitol Mall Suite 525, Sacramento, CA 95814. Tel: 916-445-4753; Fax: 916-323-9867; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Postsecondary Education; Two Year Colleges
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Academic Senate for California Community Colleges
Identifiers - Location: California