How and Why Grading

Azeem, Muhammad; Afzal, Muhammad Tanveer; Majoka, Muhammad Iqbal
April 2010
International Journal of Learning;2010, Vol. 17 Issue 3, p579
Academic Journal
Traditional forms of assessment of knowledge provide a method for assigning numerical scores to determine letter grades but rarely reveal information about how students actually understand and can reason with acquired ideas or apply their knowledge to solving problems. The reflection of the achievement of curriculum objectives and institutional standards, by students, are indicated by the grading process. The model by which the grading process is carried out is what is in question. There are three, most commonly used, grading models employed in most educational settings and institutions. The first model is norm-referenced. Norm-referenced grading refers to an evaluation where students are assessed in relationship to each other . The second is criterion-referenced. Criterion-referenced grading is the process where students are evaluated in a noncompetitive atmosphere; the emphasis is placed on the learning objects and standards. Third is self-referenced. It is based on comparing a learner's performance with the instructor's perceptions of the learner's ability. Learners performing above the level of performance that the instructor perceives them capable receive higher grades than those learners the instructor perceives as having not made as much of an improvement. There is an even greater need for appropriate grading methods for assigning letters to students' performance. This paper summarizes current trends in academic grading and relates these to the assessment of student outcomes in a specific course. After discussing these grading models the findings were that there is a noticeable shift to the criterion-referenced grading model.


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