Spring 4-28-2016



Degree Name


Primary Advisor/Dissertation Chair

Karen Moroz

Secondary Advisor/Reader One

Jon Fila

Peer-Reviewer/Reader Two

Natasha Pelovsky


Standards-based grading is a style of grading developed over the last 30 years as a means for schools to create agreed upon standards for learning and grading (McMillan, 2000). While there may be school policies and philosophies motivating a teacher’s grading system, there is no universal method or standard for the assessment of American students. Grading practices may vary from school to school, subject to subject, and classroom to classroom. As a result, teachers’ grading policies have the potential to become subjective, based more on teacher experience and preference than a student’s mastery of a subject. Subjective grading is problematic because, depending on their teachers, it can send mixed messages to students about what is important to lean. Standards-based grading is a more objective form of grading that uses common summative assessments to determine grades and guide instruction. Standards-based grading is purported to give teachers a way to provide students with accurate and easy to understand scores, but its implementation has proven somewhat difficult. Standardsbased grading requires a significant shift in the way many teachers assess their students, and at times, has been very unpopular amongst some teachers who have been asked to implement it (Clements, 2012). The change to a standards-based grading policy requires great care, extensive planning, and input from everyone involved in instruction. A key step towards implementing a standards-based grading policy is introducing it to instructional staff, professionals responsible for assisting with student learning, so this capstone seeks to answer the question, “How can instructional staff be effectively introduced to a standards-based grading policy?” Through the analysis of existing literature, and a case-study of the introduction of standards-based grading to a group of instructional staff, this capstone will provide educators with information on the most effective ways to introduce a standards-based grading policy to instructional staff.

Research Methodology

Case Study, Text Analyses


Achievement, Assessment, Grades/ Student Performance, Teachers/ Teaching

Included in

Education Commons