Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Kay A. Keiser


Grading reform has been a major focus in school districts across the country (Guskey & Jung, 2012). Reporting student achievement through grades can have a lasting and profound impact on a student’s academic career. Grades are often considered to have little relationship to student performance (Brookhart, 2004; O’Connor 2016). Grading authenticity is reached when the following standards are met: accuracy, consistency, meaningfulness, and supportiveness of the learning environment (O’Connor, 2016). A current movement to standards-based grading is believed to be a more accurate measure of student achievement than a traditional grading system (Guskey, 2001). Standards-based grading systems are believed to align with student performance evidence gained through standardized testing (Coladarci, 1986). The purpose of this exploratory mixed method research study was to identify how teacher perception of assessment practices through a traditional grading system impacted the correlation of student performance on a standardized assessment. The research was conducted in fourth grade classrooms districtwide in small suburban Nebraska school district. Quantitative achievement data was analyzed using a Pearson Product Momentum Correlation in order to identify the strength of the relationship between teacher assigned third quarter report card grades and student achievement on the Nebraska State Assessment. The researcher then conducted a qualitative research approach to investigate how the fourth grade teacher grading practice perceptions impacted the assignment of grades. The analysis of compiled data lead to consequential implications for alignment in theory and grading practice.


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 Shannon A. Thoendel.

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