Grading may not be the best way to evaluate students

Scientific Evidence Platform Needs more evidence Grading may not be the best way to evaluate students


  • Parsons, E., Koedel, C., Podgursky, M., Ehlert, M., & Xiang, P. B. (2015). Incorporating end-of-course exam timing into educational performance evaluations. Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness8(1), 130-147.
  • Raulin, D. (2007). Objets et pratiques de l’évaluation scolaire. Revue Française de la Pédagogie, 3(200), 69‑79.
  • Sireci, S. G. (2019). On the Importance of Educational Tests | European Journal of Psychological Assessment. European Journal of Psychological Assessment, 35(3), 297‑300.



Research about educational testing shows that many factors affect the objectivity of grading, and thus its efficiency.

On the one hand, evaluating someone results from a personal judgment, which makes the evaluation itself subjective. Grading, in particular, is often used as a publicity tool by many schools which makes it very biased. On the other hand, considering that one same grade can represent very different performances in different students, it is not representative of students’ knowledge. Moreover, it can feel humiliating for students and cause them anxiety. (Raulin, 2007)

Parsons and Koedel, in their research about Educational Performance Evaluations, complete those statements by saying that not only the grade in which the course is taken is a choice variable, but also that district and school policies affect the objective of grading, as they affect the grade in which the course is taken and impact student achievement. (Parsons & Koedel, 2015)

Even if educational tests have long demonstrated their utility, they have their limitations. They do not always provide the right type of information and the results are not always used for the right purposes. To maximize their benefits, it is necessary to match their intended purpose to their use. They should prove their worth by providing useful information that benefits students, teachers, parents, or the public. (Sireci, 2019). In this sense, many countries have already started to leave grading aside and use different tools to communicate to parents and students. (Raulin, 2007)


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