Degree Date


Document Type

Dissertation - Public Access

Degree Name

Ed.D. Doctor of Education

Academic Discipline

Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Jack Denny

Second Advisor

Dr. Norm Weston


Nothing can be more important in a student’s learning process than feedback. This study looks at what is needed to effectively guide an elementary school district from a traditional letter grade system to a standards-based grading system. Survey data were collected from 91 teachers across the district in order to measure their understanding of standards-based grading. A standards-based grading pilot was conducted with six teachers from the elementary and middle school level. Four of these six teachers participated in a group interview to share perceptions of this pilot. Survey data were collected from the 54 students involved in the pilot. Findings suggest the standard-based curriculum and assessments created prior to the study by teachers provided valuable background knowledge for the change to standards-based grading. Both teachers and students found that feedback based on standards was valuable to all stakeholders. However the use of letter grades is a tradition deeply ingrained in our society: promoting an effective change in student grading requires time, information, and communication to promote an effective transformation in grading practice.