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chapter 11 grading and student evaluation


Isnt ironic untold hours of reading, listening to lecturers, note-taking, writing, papers, doing
assignments, and going to classes are invadably reduced to one five letter of alphabet. And after all
that gradeling labor, the only thing that seems to really matter is that the letter goes on to transcript.
Evenmore mysterius is that tiny little letters actually mean somethhing a persons whole sense of
academic self-eteem is summed up and contained in one alphabetic symbol.
Books and manual on language assement generally omit the topic of grading and problem student
evaluation, and possibly for good reason. Focusing on the evaluation of a p;etora of different separate
assement procedures may be sufficient for a course in language testing and assessment, without the
complexity of tackling the summing up of all those assessment. On other hand, every new teacher that
I know has questions about grading, and every experienced teacher has opinions and therefore a book
language assessment would not complete without discussing a few principles and practices of grading.
1. Philosophy of grading : what should grades reflect
To look at this in a broader perspective, think about some of the characteristic of assement that ha
been discussed in this book. The important of triangulation for one tells us that abilities o a student
may not be apperent on achievement tests and measured performances. One of the argument for
considering alternatives in assessment is that we may not be able to capture the totality of students
competence through formal tests, other observations are also significant indicators of ability. No
should we discount most teachers intituation, which enables them to form impressions of student that
cannot easily be veried empirically. These argument tell us that improvement, behavior,efford,
motivation and attendance moght justifiable to set of component that add up to final grade.
2. Guidelines for selecting grading criteria
If you are wliing to include ome nonachievement factors your garding scheme how do you incorporate
them, along with the other maen measurable factors :
1. It I essential for all component of grading to be consistent with an Instituational philosophy and or
regulations see below for a futher discussion of this topic.
2. All components of a final grade need to be explicitly stated in writing.
3. Challenge yourself to create checklists, chart, and note-taking systems that allow you to conrey to
the student the basic for your conclusions.
4. Consider allocating relaitive small weights.

3. Calculating grades
a. Absolute
There is no magic about specifiying letter grade in differentials of 10 percentage points. Among other
lessons in the two stories importance of specifying your approach to grading. If you prespecify of
performance on a numerial point system. You are using an absolute system of grading.
b. Relative
Relative grading is more commonly used than absolute grading. It has the advantage of allowing your
own interpretation and of adjustingfor unpredicted ease or difficulty of test. Relative grading is usually
accomplished by ranking students in order of performance and assigning cut of point for grade.
4. Teacher perceptions of approptiate garde distribution
Most teachers bring to a test a course evaluation an interpretation of estimated appropriate
distributions, follow that interpretation and make minor adjustment to compensate for such matters as
unexpected difficulty. This prevailing attitude toward a relative grading system is well accepted and
5. Institutional expectations and constraints
Some instituation refuse to employ either grade or a numerial system of evaluation and instead offer
narrative evalutions of students. This preference for more individualized evaluations is often reaction
to the overgeneralization of letter and numerial grading.
Being cognizant of an instituational philosophy of grading is an important step toward a consistens and
fair evaluation of your students. If you are a new teacher in your instituational, try to determine what
is grading philosophy is. Sometimes it is not explicit the assumption is simply made that teachers will
grade students using a system that conforms to an unwritten philosophy. Thi has potentially harmful
washback for students. A teacher in an organization who applies a markedly Tougher grading policy
than other teachers is likely to be viewed by students as being out of touch with th resrt of the
difficulty. The result could be avoidance of the classs and even mistrust on the part of students.
6. Cross-cultural factors and question of difficulty
The teachers even in these cases it is impotant to understand the context in which they are teaching. A
number of variable bear o the isues . in many cultural :
1. It is unheard of to ask a student to alf assessment performance.
2. The teacher assigns a grade and nobody question the teacher criteria.
3. The measure of god teachers is one who can design a test that is so difficulties that no student could
achive a perfect score. The fact that a student fall short of such marks of perfection is demonstration
of all teachers superior knowledge.
4. As a corolyy, grade of are reserve for higly select few and student are deligted with bs.
5. One single final examination is the accepted determine of student entire course grade.

7. That do letter grades (mean)

Typically, instituational manual for teachers and students will list the following descriptions of letter
grades :
1. Excellent
2. Good
3. Adequate
4. Inadequate
5. Failing
The overgeneralization implicit in letter grading underscore the meaninglessness of the adjectives
typically cited as description of those letters. And yet those letters lave come to mean almost
everything in their gate-keeping role in admissions decisions and employment acceptance.educators
everywhere must work to persuade the gatekeepers of the world not letter/ numerial evaluations are
simply one side of complex representation of student ability.

8. Alternatives to letter grading

From remember on occasion receiving from a teacher a term paper or final axamination with nothing
on it but a letter grade or number. For assesement for test, paper, report, extra-class, or other formal,
score task, the rimary objective of which is to ofer formative feedback,the posibities beyond asimple
number or letter include.
a. A teachers marginal and /or end comments.
b. A teachers writeten reaction to sudents self assessment of performance.
c. A teachers review of test in the next class period.
d. Peer-assesment of performance.
e. Self assessment of performance.
f. A teacher conference with the student.
For summative assessment of student at the end of cource, those same additional assement can be
made, perhaps in modified forms :
1. a teachers marginal and or end exam/ paper/ project coments.
2. A teachers summstive written evaluation remarcks on a jurnal folio, or other tangible prouct.
3. A teacher writtenreaction tostudent self- asseement of performance in a course.
4. A complete summstive checklis of o competenscies, which coments.
5. Narrative evaluations of general performance on ky objectives.
6. A teacher conference with the student.
Most of the alternative to grading for formative tests and the other sets of tasks have ben iscused in
previous chapters. A more detailed looks is now appropriate for a few of the summative alternative to
grading particully, self assessment, narrative evalution, checklist and conference.
9. Principles and guidelines for grading and evaluation.

1. Grading is not necessarily based on universally accepted scale.

2. Grading is sometime subjective and context-dependent, grading of test is often done on the curve.
3. Grades reflect a teachers philosophy of grading.
4. Grade reflect an instituayional philosophy of grading.
5. Cross-cultural variation grading philosophy needs tobe understood.
6. Grade oftem onform, by design, to a teacher expected distribution of student across a continum.
7. Tests do not always yield an expected level of difficulty.
8. Letter grades may not mean the samething to all people
9. Alternatives to letter grades or numerial score or highly describes as additional indicator of