A multi-case exploration of teacher beliefs of grading practices and their influence on student learning

Date

2021-12

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Abstract

The purpose of this dissertation is to explore the characteristics of high school mathematics teachers’ beliefs regarding grading and the influence of such beliefs on their grading practices, and thus, their students’ mathematics learning and self-concept. A multi-case study approach is used in this investigation. The research is based on interviews and documents from two high school mathematics teachers and twelve students at one independent school in the Southwest United States. Framed with the theories of teacher beliefs and categorized learning criteria, this qualitative study sought to contribute to the knowledge base necessary for the practice, policy, and research related to teachers’ beliefs of grading and grading practices that influence student mathematics learning. Findings revealed that teachers’ beliefs grounded in their personal and professional experiences are similar and different across cases, and strongly influence their grading practice. Additionally, findings revealed that teacher grading practices influenced by their beliefs are diverse and positively and negatively impact students’ learning behaviors. These findings are specifically discussed in terms of their contributions to the existing empirical and theoretical understandings. Recommendations include the need for teachers to engage in training that includes a reflection on their beliefs about grading and a greater understanding of the influence different learning criteria have on grades. Additionally, recommendations include that private schools need consistent grading guidelines, like those of public schools and to engage teachers in discussing and reflecting on their grading practices to understand better which grading practices influence students learning behaviors.


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Keywords

Grading Practices, Grading in Mathematics, Mathematics Achievement

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