Systemic Shock: The Effect of the Pandemic on Teachers’ Beliefs on the Nature and Purpose of Grading in High School


Spring 2023



Degree Name


Primary Advisor/Dissertation Chair

Dr. Trish Harvey


Landreau, C.V. (2023). Systemic Shock: The Effect of the Pandemic on Teachers’ Beliefs on the Nature and Purpose of Grading in High School. Grades are consequential. The long accepted currency of high school as evidence of hard work, demonstration of learning, and predictor of future outcomes, they affect student motivation, college admissions, and high school graduation rates. However, the purposes of education and schooling are embedded in the complex sets of beliefs which high school teachers rely upon in their conceptualizations of how to instruct, give feedback, and assess their students. The practice of grading reflects a teacher’s perception of the value of all these components in the educational economy of what is valued in high school. This research focused on the conditions of forced changes to teaching and learning conditions and grading policies during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the possible effects of changed perceptions and beliefs on the part of teachers as a result. Data collection methods involved a survey and two semi structured qualitative interviews with high school teachers. Participants were from a midwestern metropolitan area public school district, and were selected to represent a range of content areas taught and by volunteering at the end of the survey. There were fifty two survey participants and seven interview participants. Findings suggested that teachers have shifted their practices to meet the changed conditions, and that they recognize a significant shift in perceptions on the purpose of schooling overall by students and families. This study did not reveal a fundamental shift in the purpose of grading by the teachers, but findings do support the idea that grading reform in the post pandemic years can build upon the new awareness of how the COVID-19 pandemic has altered the educational environment of high schools.








School of Education Student Capstone Theses and Dissertations

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