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By: Amy Bland, Misti Holloway,
and Katherine Jones

Ineffective Grading Practices
◦ Zeros

Effective Grading Practices
◦ Tutoring
◦ Dropping the lowest grade
◦ Opportunities to correct assignments/tests

Assessment for Learning (AfL)

Zeros—What effect do these grades have on student
worth and achievement?

Students are worth more than a zero and we as
educators should value their efforts even if a day late.
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“The difference between failure and the honor roll often
depends on grading policies of the teacher”
(Reeves, D.(2008) Leading to change/effective
grading practices. Educational Leadership.)
What are we really telling a student they are worth?
Is there any reason to try?
It is difficult to recover from a zero.
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Assignment is…
1 day late
90
2 days late
80
3 days late
70
5 days late
60
Never
50
This encourages the
student to complete work
and not accept being
worth 0!
Practices vary greatly among
teachers in the same school.
(Reeves, 2008)
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The student would
miss school events
until the late work is
turned in.
Consequences are
established.
Zeros are not
acceptable practice
Our goal is complete
work.
“ Giving a zero on a 100
point scale for missing
work is a mathematical
inaccuracy.” (Reeves, 2004)
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Students can lose
privileges instead of
receiving a zero until
work is completed.
The assignment must
be completed and
turned in for
proficiency.
“Threats of failure do not
work for students”
(Reeves, 2204, p. 325).
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What is the lowest
possible grade on the
100 point scale?
The numerical value of
a D which is a 60.
Just 2-3 zeros can cause
failure for a semester.
2-3 failures can cause a
student to drop out of
school ( Reeves, 2004).

Tutoring/Review Sessions and Materials
• Study Guides—Structured means for students to determine how well
they understand class content
• Practice Tests—Help review concepts in another structured format

Dropping the Lowest Grade
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Opportunities to correct assignments/tests
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Process of Completing Corrections
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Assessment procedures that offer more
meaningful information and purpose for the
practitioner and learner encourage and
enhance the learning process (Atkin, Black,
Coffey, 2001; Stake, 1998; 1999).
Measures that simply provide ranking
information may be counterproductive, as the
focus seems to have shifted from learning to
test-taking skills (Perlman, 2003).

The sharing of learning goals/intentions with pupils
 helping pupils know and recognize the criteria for success

Providing feedback
 marking that helps pupils to identify how to improve
 learning self-assessment techniques to discover areas
they need to improve
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The use of effective questioning to assess progress
both the teacher and pupils by
 reviewing and reflecting on pupils' performance and
progress
 setting targets for improvement
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Sharing Learning Goals/Intentions
Clear success criteria-written or verbal
Using consistent feedback and marking
strategies
Pupil self assessment and peer self
assessment
Using effective questioning
Target setting
Black, Harrison, Lee, Marshall, &
Wiliam, (2003)
Learn how effectively
and easily to use
anecdotal notes.
Learn the
best
practices
that are
aimed at
learning
targets.
Learn to
implement
summarizes
practices that
develop critical
thinking.
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Atkin, J. M., Black, P., & Coffey, J. (2001). Classroom assessment and the National Science Education Standards. Washington, DC:
National Academy Press.
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Black, P., Harrison, C., Marshall, B., & Wiliam, D. (2003). Assessment for learning: Putting it into practice. New York, NY : Open
University Press McGraw-Hill Education.
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Carifio, J. & Carey, Theodore. (2009, Nov/Dec). A critical examination of current minimum grading policy recommendations. High School Journal, 93(1),
23-37.
Cherepinsky, V. (2011, April). Self-Reflective grading: Getting students to learn from their mistakes. Primus: Problems, Resources & Issues in
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Mathematics Undergraduate Studies, 21(3), 294-301.
Fay, Charles H. & Gordon, Michael E. (2010). The effects of grading and teaching practices on students' perceptions of grading practices. College
Teaching, 58(3), 93-98.
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Hadsell, L. & MacDermott, R. (2010, July). Grade dropping: Strategic behavior and student 'satisficing'. American Journal of Business
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Education, 3(7), 57-71.
Perlman, C. (2003). Practice tests and study guides: Do they help? Are they ethical? What is ethical test preparation practice? ERIC
Document (ED 48D062).
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Reeves, D. (2008, February). Leading to change: Effective grading practices. Educational Leadership, 65,(5), 85-87.
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Reeves, D. (2004, December). The case against the zero. Phi Delta Kappan, 86(4), 324-325
Stake, R. (1998). Some comments on assessment in U.S. education. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 6(14), 1-8.
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