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Teachers' Grading Practices: Influencing Factors and Methods Used. Youyi Sun & Liying Cheng Queen’s University, Kingston, ON email@example.com. Rationale. Grading is one of the most challenging aspects in teaching for teachers to do well (Brookhart, 2004; Cheng & Wang, 2007).
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Teachers' Grading Practices: Influencing Factors and Methods Used Youyi Sun & Liying Cheng Queen’s University, Kingston, ON firstname.lastname@example.org TESL Ontario 2010 Conference Oct. 28-30, Toronto
Rationale • Grading is one of the most challenging aspects in teaching for teachers to do well (Brookhart, 2004; Cheng & Wang, 2007). • It is a complex decision-making process that requires teachers to make professional judgment. • In addition, grades are often used for various purposes by different stakeholders in education, which, in turn, impacts teachers’ grading.
Teachers’ Grading Practices • Studies have investigated the various factors that determine teachers’ grading • the grade-level at which teachers teach (Randall & Engelhard, 2009), • the amount of assessment training teachers receive (Brookhart, 1993), and • subject matter which teachers teach (McMillan, 2001).
Teachers’ Grading Practices • Merwin (1989) suggested that grades should be based on students’ academic achievement without including confounding factors such as effort and work habits. • In fact, however, teachers tend to consider a hodgepodge of factors when assigning grades (Cross & Frary, 1996). The discrepancy may present construct-irrelevant variance in teachers’ grading that threatens the validity of the grades they assign.
Language Teachers’ Grading Practices • Compared with the literature in education, research on classroom-based assessment practices conducted by teachers of English as a foreign and second language has recently emerged (Rea-Dickins, 2004; Brindley, 2007). • However, relatively few studies conducted so far have focused on teachers’ grading practices with the exceptions of Davison (2004) and Cheng & Wang (2007).
Context of the study • Many of the studies focused on system-wide evaluation and scoring reforms in large-scale high-stakes testing (e.g. Guo, 2007; Liu, 2007), comparisons of different grading procedures such as percentage grading and letter grading (Liu, 2005), and standards-based grading (e.g. Bian & Shan, 2006). • Empirical studies on English language teachers’ grading practices within the Chinese school classroom context are non-existent.
Research Questions • What are the factors that determine the grades assigned and the assessment methods used by Chinese secondary school English language teachers? • What meaning and values are associated with the grades assigned by these teachers in the Chinese secondary school context?
Method • A questionnaire consists of three sections: • Factors teachers consider when assigning grades (17 items on a scale of 5=always consider 1=never consider) • Type of assessment methods used to determine students’ grade (10 items on a scale of 5=always use 1=never use) • Teachers demographical data • Gender, age, degree, yr. of teaching, teaching level, hours of teaching per week, class size, and assessment training
Participants • Chinese secondary school teachers (n=350) • N=188 junior high school; n=162 senior high • Female = 76.1%; Male = 23.9% • 26-30=23.9%; 31-35=31.6%; 36-40=21.8% • Certificate/Diploma=55.3%; BA=38% • Full assessment course=33.7%; partial assessment course=32.2%; no training=24.4% • Yr. of teaching=12.6 • Hour of teaching = 9.2 per week • Class size = 54.5
Results of the study: Descriptive StatisticsFactors considered in determining grades
Results of the study: Descriptive Statistics: Type of Assessment Methods Used
Results: Factor Analysis • Principal Components with Varimax • The factors that determine the grades assigned • Referential factor (learning objectives, school policy) (6 items) • Learning skills (effort, study habit, homework) (6) • Performance (academic performance and ability) (4) • The assessment methods used for grading • Performance and project-based (5 items) • Teacher self-developed (3) • Summative assessment (2)
Results of the study:Rotated Component Matrix ---- Factors Considered in Assigning Grades
Results of the study:Rotated Component Matrix ---- Types of Methods Used in Assigning Grades
Results: T-tests • Junior school teachers Vs. Senior school teachers • Factors • No significant differences across all the three components. • Methods • Junior school teachers (M = .11) used performance and project-based assessments • more often than senior school teachers (M = -.13), t (324) = 2.19, p < .05. • Senior school teachers (M = .21) used summative assessments more often than junior • school teachers (M= -.18), t (324) = -3.59, p < .01. • No significant difference in terms of teacher self-developed assessments.
Results: T-tests • Teachers with assessment training Vs. Teachers without • Factors • Teachers with training (M = .20) considered referential factors more often than • teachers without (M = -.10), t (269) = -2.41, p < .05 • No significant difference in terms of learning skills and performance factor. • Methods • Teachers with training (M = 1.92) used performance and project-based assessments • more often than teachers without (M = -.07), t (276.79) = -2.32, p < .05. • Teachers with training (M = .27) used self-developed assessments more often than • teachers without (M = -.17), t (284.25) = -4.04, p < .01. • No significant difference in terms of summative assessments.
Discussions and Implications • Teachers consider a hodgepodge of factors in grading. • Teachers use various methods to determine grades. • Grading is a complex decision-making process, • reflecting teachers’ belief and value systems and • needs to be studied in relation to the context. • Implications for teacher training
References • Brindley, G. (2007). Editorial. Language Assessment Quarterly, 4(1), 1-5. • Brookhart, S. M. (2004). Grading. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson-Merrill-Prentice Hall. • Cross, L. & Frary, R. (1996, April). Hodgepodge grading: endorsed by students and teachers alike. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Council on Measurement in Education, New York. • Cheng, L., & Wang, X. (2007). Grading, feedback, and reporting in ESL/EFL classrooms. Language Assessment Quarterly, 4(1), 85-107. • McMillan, J.H. (2001). Secondary teachers’ classroom assessment and grading practices. Educational Measurement: Issues and Practice, 20(1), 20-32. • Merwin, J. C. (1989). Evaluation. In M.C. Reynolds (Ed.) Knowledge base for the beginning teacher (pp. 185-192).Oxford: Pergamon Press. • Randall, J., & Engelhard, G. (2009). Differences between teachers' grading practices in elementary and middle schools. Journal of Educational Research, 102(3), 175-85. • Rea-Dickins, P. (2004). Editorial: understanding teachers as agents of assessment. Language Testing 21(3), 249–5