TO TRADITIONAL GRADING
I. Written Evaluation
The instructor writes a detailed description
of the student's performance, occasionally
using a checklist or some other form as a guide.
Included are discussions of strengths and weaknesses,
recommendations for improvement, detailed breakdowns
of student progress in various aspects of the
subject as well as any other comments and/or
interpretations which may help the student,
college personnel and future employers.
Provides more complete feedback to students.
Can be used as an instructional tool.
Is more informative to others: admissions
officers, employers, other instructors.
Encourages instructors to treat
students as individuals.
Promotes greater subjectivity on instructor's
May concentrate on weaknesses rather
than providing a balanced judgment.
May be couched in vague terms,
such as: fair, poor, good
work, needs improvement.
Is very time-consuming.
Students evaluate their own progress, either
in writing or in a conference with the instructor.
Often the self-evaluation is combined with
the instructor's written evaluation and becomes
a part of the student's record. Students evaluate
their own progress toward the objectives they
have set or those determined by the instructor.
The student will normally have some input in
establishing the criteria for the evaluation.
Self-evaluation may result in the determination
of a self-grade but this is not always the
Teaches students the process of evaluating
themselves for the future.
Encourages students to take more responsibility
for their own goals.
Includes the student's input
concerning how much has
gone into the learning.
Initially increases student tension.
Becomes less accurate over time, according
When the instructor is
not respected, students
may abuse this opportunity.
Today's enormous pressures
for high grades
makes honesty difficult.
The instructor decides upon the operational
or behavioral objectives, determining the level
of performance the students should strive for.
Material is then organized so that the desired
learning will take place. At the beginning
of the course students are provided with complete
information on: (1) what they are expected
to learn, (2) how the learning will be tested,
(3) what the criteria are for proficiency,
(4) what levels of proficiency are required,
and (5) what resources are available to help
them achieve the mastery level they desire.
Each student has considerable freedom with
regard to pacing, resources, method of mastering
material, and level of performance desired.
Projects may be repeated until the student
is satisfied with the grade.
Removes the competitive pressure between students.
Allows emphasis on task accomplishment
at the student's chosen level or
the student is satisfied
with no penalty
for number of
pacing of effort.
Causes some students to make undue effort
to reach higher levels of performance.
to hand in
first draft projects
standards met since there
penalty for resubmission.
IV. The Contract
Each student sets goals, ways of reaching
those goals, and procedures for evaluating
progress. The instructor reviews the proposed
plan, makes suggestions, and negotiates with
the student. Both teacher and student then
agree on the contract as negotiated and sign
it. Each contract includes an agreement as
to how the student's grade will be determined.
This will involve both the criteria to be used
and who will actually do the evaluating. Both
quantity and quality may be involved in the
Eliminates much grading anxiety since the
student knows exactly what is expected.
Eliminates some subjectivity.
Encourages diversity of goals.
May better meet individual needs.
Quantity of work too often becomes the major
criteria for grading.
Quality of diverse types of projects
is often very difficult to evaluate.
are often ambiguous in the criteria
The teacher decides the criteria for a passing
grade or credit. Any student meeting these
criteria passes and/or receives credit; those
who do not meet these criteria fail and/or
receive no credit.
Students are more relaxed and less anxious.
Students are more free to take risks
Some students learn more.
Both students and instructors may do less
It is easy to slight such a course when
others are taken under traditional
decides and announces to the class at the beginning
amount of work will receive the blanket grade.
Usually this is a "B", but it may
be an "A" or a "C" depending
upon the instructor's wishes. Sometimes it
is permissible for those doing poorly to keep
trying until the quality improves and some
teachers giving blanket "B" or "C" grades
designate extra projects which can be done
to attain a higher grade. At this point the
scheme tends to become a group contract grading
Same as Pass-Fail.
Places emphasis upon cooperation among
Same as contract grading.
Students can take advantage of the situation
and do little.
* Some of the material is paraphrased from
Kirschenbaum, H., Napier, R. and Simon, S.
WAD-JA-GET? The Grading Game in American Education.
New York: Hart Publishing Co., 1971.