Date of Award
Doctor of Education (EdD)
School of Teaching and Learning
Robyn L. Seglem
Grading is often a time-consuming, laborious task for teachers continuously required to document student performance. Simultaneously, among students there is intense competition for grades, which determine class ranks, college entrances, scholarship opportunities, as well as satisfy parental and societal expectations (Campbell, 2012; Wood, 1994). Due to the importance of grades, some educators have sought to determine whether or not traditional grading systems are truly indicative of students' abilities (Brookhart, 1991, 1993; Guskey, Swan & Jung, 2011).
This study investigated alternative grading systems, especially those that were non points-based, and the influence alternative grading had upon teachers' instructional practices. This study also examined teachers' motivations for implementing alternative grading systems, how they aligned with teachers' educational philosophies, and how they affected the feedback teachers provided their students.
Utilizing a blended methodology of multi-case phenomenology, case study provided structure in the data collection procedures, while Moustakas' (1994) transcendental phenomenology provided the methodological framework for the data analysis, aimed at identifying the essences of teachers' experiences with alternative grading. After bracketing my own experience with alternative grading in the Epoche, and horizonalizing the data along the subsidiary research questions to find invariant qualities, I employed the transcendental-phenomenological reduction (Moustakas, 1994), synthesizing textural and structural descriptions, to arrive at the essences of the experience.
Ultimately, the essences of alternative grading were determined to be built upon strong administrative support with a focus on increasing student learning. While teachers reported that alternative grading did not have much influence over their instructional practices--possibly due to teaching in a style that was conducive to alternative grading so as not to perceive a change, it was apparent that alternative grading forced these teachers to adjust their planning, and to reflect on the nature and purpose of each assignment in order to maximize student learning.
Percell, Jay C., "Essentially Point-Less: the Influence of Alternative, Non Points-Based Grading on Teachers' Instructional Practices" (2014). Theses and Dissertations. 196.