Grading With Points: The Determination of Report Card Grades by High School Science Teachers

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This study examined the grading practices of 91 high school science teachers. Surveys were used to collect data about types of assessments used, the weight given each assessment, and the mechanism used to determine students' report card grades. It was found that few of these teachers used alternative forms of assessment such as performance assessments, journals, or portfolios. While there was little difference among teachers based on experience, gender, or school setting, preference and weights for different assessments varied among science subject taught. These teachers used two types of mechanisms to calculate report card grades: averages and points. Teachers who used point systems for grading purposes were interviewed. The results of this study indicate that reform efforts have had little effect on the grading practices of these teachers. In addition, a large percentage of these teachers use point systems, which act against reform efforts by reinforcing task completion rather than conceptual understanding as the goal for science education.

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School Science and Mathematics, v. 98, issue 3, p. 140-148