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Grading Techniques For Tuning Student And Faculty Performance

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Tricks of the Trade in Teaching II

Tagged Division

New Engineering Educators

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.629.1 - 15.629.9



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Paper Authors

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Adrian Ieta State University of New York, Oswego

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Thomas Doyle McMaster University Orcid 16x16

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Rachid Manseur SUNY-Oswego

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Grading techniques for tuning student and faculty performance

New faculty are highly qualified in their own field, where they have accumulated some research experience and where they can bring fair amounts of enthusiasm. This article discusses grading techniques that help match student performance and instructor interest. Grading as a tool for evaluating student performance has been considered mainly from the student perspective. Anybody new to teaching rarely has proper training on grading techniques, which often are of least concern relative to teaching content. Nevertheless, grading as perceived by students may greatly impact their attitude towards the course and its instructor. It has been proven that students are very sensitive to grades and inaccurate evaluation of their perceived performance can also alter their future performance as well as their evaluation of teaching, which may adversely affect the instructor. Often, scaling of raw scores is used in grading engineering tests. There are no official standards on how this operation should be performed, hence the wide variation in the common procedures used. This work compares a few common-sense scaling procedures and shows how the final outcome may vary when determined from the same raw scores. Such grading variations significantly affect what the evaluation of the students’ performance represents. This article offers recommendations on use of scaling methods so that the negative impacts of grading techniques and grade distortions can be minimized and lead to enhanced and efficient evaluation standards. Since grading and grading techniques are of general interest to instructors, this article may be of service to many instructors, especially to the new and relatively new faculty willing to review some of their own grading procedures.


There are many aspects of academic life that new faculty have to deal with in a short period of time. Teaching, although demanding, is often a pleasant part. Marking papers and assigning grades are an essential component of the evaluation process, which may be more difficult than initially assumed. Moreover, student grades do bear weight on student evaluation of teaching (SET) scores [1], which may impact the future tenure and promotion of the faculty. Grading and student motivation for learning are related [2], although student motivation is not simply helped by high grades [3]. If the SET scores are not appropriate it is often very difficult to improve the scores without professional advice [4]. Some research shows that faculty can improve SET scores by giving higher grades [5-9].

In North America (but not only) the letter grade (LG) system is used in the student evaluation process. The LG system, developed at Harvard [10], has its advantage of carrying an easy intuitive meaning [11] and European Union now uses the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) to convert European grades to LG categories [12]. However, this intuitive meaning evolves in time [3] and the interpretation of evaluation scores may vary according to the grading system used [13]. In this paper we aim at analyzing how grades are related to raw scores and how scaling can be used productively rather than harmfully in order to tune in student and faculty needs while following educational standards.

Ieta, A., & Doyle, T., & Manseur, R. (2010, June), Grading Techniques For Tuning Student And Faculty Performance Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--15957

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