top of page
  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Students learn more from tough graders


Photo: Pexels

Students learn more when their teachers have high expectations, concludes a study in North Carolina, reports Kevin Mahnken. Algebra students with "tough" teachers earned higher test scores, and did better in subsequent math courses.


High standards “change the way students engage with school,” said Seth Gershenson, an economist at American University and one of the paper’s co-authors.


Researchers compared students' course grades to their performance on end-of-year exams. "Compared with students who had previously demonstrated similar levels of math performance, those assigned to stricter graders saw larger scoring gains" in Algebra I, and did better when they got to Algebra II, Mahnken reports.


Grades were rising, but test scores were not, from 2009 to 2019, according to the High School Transcript Study. An ACT report found "significant grade inflation over 2020 and 2021, with self-reported student GPAs climbing even as ACT scores themselves did not," adds Mahnken.

(Teachers) . . . have sometimes spoken openly about softening their approach to grading as a response to COVID’s disruption to in-person learning. In big districts like Los Angeles, San Diego, and Clark County, Nevada (home to Las Vegas), new standards have deemphasized deadlines and classroom behavior, giving students more time and chances to complete graded work.

Some say easier grading standards "keep students engaged who might otherwise become frustrated or fall behind," writes Mahnken. But North Carolina students assigned to tougher graders were less likely to have unexcused absences. All groups of students benefited, said Gershenson, who called high standards “good for everybody.”


291 views4 comments

4件のコメント


Bruce Smith
Bruce Smith
2023年4月06日

America's high school mathematical standards are abominably low, in comparison with jurisdictions that the Common Core benchmarked itself against, such as Singapore: after having begun at a similar baseline level at the end of the 8h grade (if they have achieved the 8th grade standards, a real leap of faith in the United States), Americans are given four years to complete the precalculus level that is considered ordinary in Singapore, and is ordinarily achieved by the end of 10th grade in that city-state, and in the many other jurisdictions that use the General Certificate of Secondary Education as their high school-level qualification for college, which starts in 11th grade in these systems.

いいね!
ゲスト
2023年4月07日
返信先

Powering down math to lower grades benefits girls and hurts boys. See the selective university track that requires algebra in 7th grade. Very girl friendly.

いいね!

ゲスト
2023年4月03日

This is why there has been such a rapid decline in the quality of education at our universities. With so many "professors" being part time and hired on a class-by-class basis, and often rehired based on student surveys, universities have created a feedback loop which selects for easy graders.


Easy graders get higher student reviews and are are more likely to get hired for the next semester. There is no feedback loop for quality of the education or the amount of learning being achieved. Year after year, teaching gets easier and graduates become more and more poorly educated. Those poorer educated graduates become the next cycle's teachers, and the spiral speeds up.


To avoid this would take a university administration…


いいね!

ゲスト
2023年4月03日

Tough grading requires administrators and politicians to tolerate higher levels of failure and more mad parents. The trade off in education is higher standards means more failures and/or more tracking.

いいね!
bottom of page