Front cover image for How middle school teachers make sense of mandated reforms to their grading and reporting practices through qualitative interviewing

How middle school teachers make sense of mandated reforms to their grading and reporting practices through qualitative interviewing

Jessica M. Krueger (Author), Kristal M. Clemons (Thesis advisor), Northeastern University (Degree granting institution)
Grading and reporting practices in secondary schools have traditionally been designed so that teachers assign a single letter or percentage grade at the end of a term to communicate student learning. Increasingly, leaders of secondary schools have mandated change away from these traditional grading practices to ones that are standards-based. These grades are not aggregated, but divided so that a student's academic achievement, approach to learning, and their progress are explicitly communicated. This qualitative study investigated the sense-making process of middle school teachers involved in a mandated change to their grading and reporting practices. The findings suggest that the process is complex and multi-faceted, and that the sense-making process in ongoing. In order to be able to effectively utilize the procedures of standards-based grading and reporting, teachers must have a deep understanding of their academic standards and the efficacy to build assessments that elicit the extent to which a student has mastered the intended learning objective. The close analysis of the participant experiences revealed themes across the them in relation to their intentional use of standards, previous teaching experiences, inconsistencies in application of the new practices, high levels of anxiety, time needed for implementation, and positive influence on teaching and student learning. Future studies should investigate factors that influence teacher sense-making during this type of change, the extent to which teacher practices are changed, and the influence that standards-based grading and reporting has on student learning
Thesis, Dissertation, English, 2016
Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts, 2016
Northeastern University