Faculty of Education

Faculty of Education
Faculty of Education

FacultyShare Presentation by Liying Cheng

Teachers' Grading Decision-Making: Validating the Interface Between Teaching and Assessment

Thursday, January 14, 2016
3:00 pm - 4:30 pm​
Vernon Ready Room (A115)
Duncan McArthur Hall

Dr. Liying ChengDr. Liying Cheng is the Professor of Teaching English as a Second/Foreign Language.


Grading is one of the most challenging aspects of assessment for teachers as it is a complex decision-making process that requires them to make professional judgment. Various factors determine this process, such as the grade-level at which teachers teach (Randall & Engelhard, 2009), the assessment training they receive (Brookhart, 1993), and the subject matter they teach (McMillan, 2001). Further, teachers tend to consider confounding factors such as effort, work habits and achievement when assigning grades (Guskey, 2011; Yesbeck, 2011). This is discrepant with measurement recommendations that grades should be based solely on students’ academic achievement. Brookhart (1993, 2004) suggests that this discrepancy is a symptom of a validity problem that can be best framed by Messick’s (1989) framework. Such framing entails exploring teachers’ interpretation of what a grade represents, how they think about grade use and consequences, and what values they place on grades. Despite the importance of grading in the interface between assessment and teaching/learning, only a few studies on grading have been conducted in language assessment, and ever fewer within the Asian context where non-achievement factors are valued (Cheng & Wang, 2007). This study employs a survey design with mixed mode analysis to address this research gap. A questionnaire survey was conducted with 350 Chinese English language teachers. First, the questionnaire measures the extent to which teachers consider different factors and use different assessment methods to determine grades. Second, it provides three grading scenarios to explore the meaning and values associated with grades assigned by the teachers, and finally, it gathers demographic data of the participants. These findings together shed light on understanding the validity of teachers’ grading where non-achievement factors are valued and highlight the influences of the social and educational values on teachers’ grading decision-making within the Asian context.​