THE BEST OF THE MARSHALL MEMO

How to energize leadership, teaching, and learning in 22 key areas

Grading Practices:

Selected Memo Summaries

Recent research has highlighted serious problems with traditional grading practices, including the 100-point scale, zeroes for missed assignments, and averaging grades. This selection of Marshall Memo summaries examines these and other problems, the characteristics of effective grading policies, and strategies for convincing educators to change. 

Questions to consider:
  • How can we solve the problem of equally proficient students getting different grades?
  • Is changing traditional grading practices worth it?
  • Can grades improve students’ learning as well as documenting their performance?

Here's the table of contents:

Grading Practices


Problems with Grades and Grading

  1. One hundred years of research on grading
  2. Misconceptions get in the way of better grading
  3. Pointed questions about grades
  4. A New Jersey district deals with how homework is graded
  5. Grade inflation in high schools

Characteristics of Effective Grading

  1. The shift to standards-based grading
  2. Making grades fair, accurate, specific, and timely

Improving Grading Practices

  1. Failure is not an option
  2. How to deal with students who look only at their grades
  3. Preventing cheating by shaping classroom motivational culture
  4. Innovative grading systems are acceptable to colleges

Professional Learning Suggestions