Variations in grading practice – subjects matterSep 17 2013
This article aims to explore the relevance and importance of school subjects in teachers’ grading practices, as teachers themselves see it. The study is based on material from 41 semi-structured interviews, with teachers of five subjects, at four lower and two upper secondary schools in Norway. The findings suggest that the school subject does matter when teachers assign final grades to their students. The study also indicates that different subjects involve different challenges or obstacles in fulfilling government recommendations and regulations for grading. A four-part model is developed that summarises the subject differences found in teachers’ approaches to grading, and which allows different subjects to be mapped relative to one another. These findings seem to support arguments that more recognition should be given to differences between school subjects, and the influence of contextual dimensions in grading practices. This is particularly relevant in implementing system-wide changes such as the creation of unitary systems for the measurement of student learning outcomes.