An old chestnut revisited:
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An old chestnut revisited: teachers’ opinions and attitudes toward grading within a competency based training framework. James Richards, William Angliss Institute. Some background to “grading”. The grading of meritorious performance continues after CBT End of 1990’s questions are raised:

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James Richards, William Angliss Institute

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An old chestnut revisited:teachers’ opinions and attitudes toward grading within a competency based training framework

James Richards, William Angliss Institute

Some background to “grading”

  • The grading of meritorious performance continues after CBT

  • End of 1990’s questions are raised:

    • The mission of VET

    • Undermines agreed workplace standards

  • By mid 2000 arguments become silent

Why Grade?

  • Against: based on perceived negative effect on learners.

  • The role of VET teachers/trainers

  • Two forces driving the need to grade

  • The extent to which employers and HE selection use grades?

Who should decide?

  • Industry developed standards

  • Training package developers

  • Individual organisations (teachers)

How to grade

  • Generic criteria model

  • The WA experience – a “failure to market”

  • Competency as a developmental continuum

  • Standards referencing approach (specific criterion model)

Research Question:

  • What are teachers’ attitudes and opinions regarding grading within a CBT system?

    • the value of grading

    • The process of grading

    • Differences between operational and management teachers.


  • Exploratory

  • Likert-type survey


  • Response rate 68.6%

    • 14 (58.33%) – management teachers

    • 8 (33.33%) – operational teachers

    • 2 (8.33%) - unknown

Grading students offers many benefits and is worth the effort. (Raw scores)

Grading students offers many benefits and is worth the effort. (%)

Grading has a negative impact on struggling learners


  • Agree: Students see a “C” as “I just passed” – and that’s wrong.

  • Strongly disagree: Why should competition create negativity – it should encourage others to do better.

  • Agree: how can you be more competent than competent

  • Strongly disagree: Those learners might be happy with just a “C”.

  • Disagree: teacher should be looking at student’s personal best

Struggling learners maybe more comfortable with ungraded reporting (%)

In grading we are trying to satisfy external agents (such as selection for employment, higher education entrance) at the expense of the student’s training needs.(%)

I believe higher grades indicate potential for success in higher education (university) studies (%)


  • “not for employment, higher ed, yes”

  • “grading is only used for higher ed. I have never asked for a student’s results as an employer – I don’t care. What I want is for them to turn up, work well and be passionate”

  • “Employers look for attitude, commitment and integrity – not grades”

Level of support for grading in a CBT system (items5 & 8)


  • Disagree: lack of consistency between teachers’ grades makes a mockery of grading. I labour over grading to the point that it becomes very stressful

  • Strongly agree: Encourages good students to do extra learning, put in more effort.

  • Don’ know: perhaps management units – not operational.

Level of comfort with grading

The process of grading

  • Continue to next slide

I believe the rubrics I use accurately represent workplace standards


  • Disagree: We do not, cannot replicate the workplace

  • Disagree: …teachers can interpret rubrics in their own way.

Because of my industry experience I can accurately judge performance at higher levels without the need for a rubric


  • Don’t know: industry is not a consistent beast

  • Strongly disagree: A rubric is essential to quantify competencies, skills ..a gut feeling is simply not enough

It is essential to have good industry experience in providing meaningful grades to students

Requirements for grading student performance are becoming too complicated


  • Strongly agree: Its taking the fun out of teaching

  • Strongly agree: Too many versions of what we are supposed to be doing – which one is correct?

  • Disagree: ..we just need to agree on a uniform approach

Rubrics used for grading should be centrally written and contained in each training package

There should be two assessment events: one that determines C/NYC, and a second to determine the grade


  • Strongly disagree: Too labour intensive – teachers would not support this consistently

  • Disagree: prefer no grading at all

  • Strongly agree: …teachers apply superior to what should be competent because of the low standard of student performance: it is “outstanding” to see a student complete all competencies

I believe I am able to write meaningful rubrics

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