Graduation Term


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Department of Educational Administration and Foundations: Educational Administration

Committee Chair

Neil Sappington

Committee Member

Lydia Kyei-Blankson


Practices in grading and assessment have been studied extensively. Guskey and Brookhart (2019) found many studies dating back to the early 1900s, and one as early as 1888, that looked at the reliability and consistency of grades. Despite more than 100 years of research on grading and assessment practices and many efforts to change these practices, most practices today are remarkably similar to those utilized in the early 1900s. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the effects of using a Learner Centered Design Model to support a school staff in altering their beliefs and practices regarding grading and assessment. The Learner Centered Design Model, developed by Cale Birk and Charity Allen (2017), is comprised of five phases designed to support a change or initiative by involving members of the organization most impacted by the change. The study was conducted in an elementary school and included teachers who were members of the Learner Centered Design team as well as teachers who were informed about the process by team members during staff and grade level meetings. Information was collected through interviews, observations, and document analysis. All data were analyzed to determine whether there was evidence of change in beliefs and practices related to grading and assessment. Although the time frame for this study was not sufficient to establish lasting change in assessment and grading practices in this school, there was evidence of changes in practice regarding the schoolwide commitment to separate academics and behavior and the identification of focus standards at each grade level, and there was evidence of changes in beliefs regarding parent voice and the purpose of grades.


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