Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Tamara J. Williams


Grades in schools can be subjective in nature. Yet, grading remains a key piece in the American education system. Beliefs around grading practices are deeply held and can vary from teacher to teacher. This study aims to explore how teachers arrive at their own grading practices and to analyze teachers’ perceptions of implementing common grading expectations at one middle school in the Midwest. The implementation was grounded in research surrounding ethical change leadership. In year two of implementation, certified staff responded to a survey of Likert scale and open-ended questions providing feedback on implementing common grading expectations. The medians of responses were analyzed and compared to subgroups of grade level taught, core teachers, exploratory teachers, other certificated staff, years of experience, content area, leadership experience, and experience teaching in more than one district. Then the open-ended qualitative responses were used to explain or justify the quantitative data. Overall findings indicated no significant differences in perceptions of the subgroups. However, qualitative data showed concerns with retakes and how authentic conversations and relationships are at the core of effective change in schools. Though this study is not intended to be replicated across other schools, it may serve as a learning opportunity when considering a change initiative in grading practices.


A Dissertation Presented to the Faculty of the Graduate College of the University of Nebraska in Partial Fulfillment of Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Education. Copyright 2017 Jennifer Carson.

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