Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Howard Carlson


Studies suggest that a potential misalignment between assessment and grading practices in reporting secondary student academic achievement has negatively impacted students since grades may not truly reflect actual achievement. Accordingly, the purpose of the current study was to compare secondary teachers' use of academic and nonacademic factors when reporting student achievement before and after professional development on assessment and grading practices. Following change theory, the study investigated the efficacy of employing professional development as a means of influencing more standard and appropriate practices among secondary teachers with regard to using academic and nonacademic factors when employing standards-based reporting to determine grades. The single-group repeated measures design used a random sample of 39 secondary teachers (6th-12th grade) in a nonpublic school in the Midwest who completed online adaptations of the Teacher Survey on Grading Practices (TSGP) and McREL surveys. Chi-square analyses of the TSGP indicated that there was a significant difference in the way teachers used academic and nonacademic factors in determining grades after professional development. Specifically, improvement and mastery, two academic criteria, increased after the intervention, whereas all nonacademic factors on the survey decreased in the amount of weight teachers gave them in determining a summative grade for students. The results of this study led to the conclusion that professional development was an effective means to influence change in grading practices. The study contributes to social change by informing professional development models that promote meaningful conversations about the nature of student achievement, systematic assessment practices, and how to most accurately and equitably assign grades.