Interpreting and Grading Learning


Grading is the process of interpreting students' learning products and performance for the purposes of:

  • reflecting where students stand in relation to an orderly development of competence
  • informing students and teachers of students' current level of learning, and of what they need to do to improve it.
  • combining a grade with other grades to meet administrative requirements for awarding grade levels for students' overall performance.

Grading is a high-stakes activity. Students use the results to define themselves as learners. Grading is also highly subjective; interpretation relies heavily on the wisdom of practice.

Expert assessors are highly skilled in interpreting and grading students' performances and products. They need to:

  • possess detailed knowledge of their discipline, of curriculum intentions and of learners and their diverse backgrounds
  • have detailed knowledge of assessment options, and understand the limitations of these options
  • be very clear as to the purposes of the assessment
  • have access to a repertoire of meaningful approaches that have been intentionally developed for the interpretation of students' learning performances
  • be aware of contextual influences on their practice, the limitations of their own interpretations and judgments, and the ethical and practical implications of the way they conduct grading.

Additional information