Schools to watch: North Carolina Middle School teachers' perceptions of grading practices for student achievement and the role of school leaders in teacher support

Paula Bledsoe Coates, Fayetteville State University

Abstract

This qualitative study was designed to obtain information on grading practices from North Carolina Middle School teachers working in schools identified as a School to Watch by the National Forum to Accelerate Middle Grades Reform. Nineteen participants with bachelors and masters degrees and experience ranging from beginning teacher through teachers with 20 years or more were administered an electronic questionnaire asking the participants to report and discuss the following topics: (1) specific grading practices, (2) primary purposes for grading, (3) best indicators of student achievement, and ( 4) the principal's role in developing and supporting grading practices. Teachers overwhelmingly agreed that measuring what students know and can do is the main purpose of grading, and feedback to students and parents constitutes a secondary but important purpose of grading. The findings were consistent with the current literature on effective grading practices. Teachers in this study indicated they occasionally considered class participation and homework when computing course grades. These statements contrast the participants' stated beliefs that the main purpose of grading is content mastery. The study revealed that teachers should make every effort to ensure students complete all assignments even if it requires additional time outside the typical instructional day. Students with missing assignments should not receive zero grades, which aligned with the literature on qualities of effective teachers. The study found homework was used to reinforce skills and concepts learned in class and should always be evaluated by the teacher. Findings were consistent with the results of previous studies indicating the effectiveness of homework was dependent upon feedback supplied by the teacher. Student projects, portfolios, and other work samples along with pre-tests and post-tests provided the best measures of achievement. The results of the current study coincide with those within the existing literature on measures of student achievement. This study revealed principals expected teachers to develop grading practices and policies that are fair and equitable for students.^

Subject Area

Education, Leadership|Education, Middle School|Education, General

Recommended Citation

Coates, Paula Bledsoe, "Schools to watch: North Carolina Middle School teachers' perceptions of grading practices for student achievement and the role of school leaders in teacher support" (2013). ETD Collection for Fayetteville State University. AAI3577755.
http://digitalcommons.uncfsu.edu/dissertations/AAI3577755

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