Title

Measuring teachers' perceptions of grading practices: A cross-cultural perspective

Date of Completion

January 2007

Keywords

Education, Tests and Measurements|Education, Educational Psychology

Degree

Ph.D.

Abstract

The effectiveness of classroom assessment and grading practices has become an increasingly important research topic in education. Many studies have been conducted regarding factors affecting teachers' grading practices. However, results of these studies were contradictory in terms of whether it was necessary for teachers to consider factors other than student achievement in their grading practices. While many studies have been conducted on teachers' grading practices, no research has been done from a cross-cultural context. ^ The primary purpose of this study was to develop and validate an instrument (the Teachers' Perceptions of Grading Practices (TPGP)), and to measure middle and high school teachers' attitudes towards and perceptions of grading practices within the U.S. and China. A second purpose was to examine possible differences between teachers in the U.S. and China in regard to their perceptions and practices of grading. In this study, 122 middle and high school teachers in the U.S. and 167 middle and high school teachers in China responded to the TPGP survey. Multi-group confirmatory factor analyses revealed that some items were non-invariant across the two countries, and these items were identified in the context of partial measurement invariance. Results of descriptive statistics found that teachers in the two countries believed that grading was important and useful; they both considered a variety of factors in grading. Univariate ANOVA analyses suggested mean differences for some equivalent items across countries. Teachers in China were more likely to offer a student a second chance to take a test if that student failed, and they felt more confident in grading than their U.S. counterparts. For those nonequivalent items, their response frequencies and their distributions were examined, and possible reasons for nonequivalence were discussed. Results of chi-square tests found that teachers in the U.S. gave assignments, and major tests or exams that accounted for a grade less frequently than teachers in China, providing empirical evidence to support that the education system in China is test-oriented with high student workload. This study also provides empirical evidence of how to deal with partial measurement invariance and how to identify nonequivalent items of an instrument in cross-cultural research. ^