Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Marge Maxwell (Director), Rebecca Stobaugh, Janet Tassell

Degree Program

Educational Leadership Doctoral Program

Degree Type

Doctor of Education


The use of standards-based grading in American public schools is increasing, offering students, parents, and teachers a new way of measuring and communicating about student achievement and performance. Parents indicate an appreciation for this method of grading, and students at the elementary grades (K-6) have improved standardized test scores in reading and math as a result of its implementation. This study seeks to determine whether standards-based grading has the same effect on students at the high school level (grades 9-12) by comparing end-of-course test scores and posttest scores of Algebra 2 students enrolled in a standards-based graded classroom with to those enrolled in a traditionally-graded classroom. Two teachers each taught two classes of Algebra 2 and graded one class using standards-based grading and one class using traditional grading methods. Students at both the honors level and the regular level of mathematics were included in the study. Honors students performed better than regular students on both assessments, but no significant difference was found between the performance of traditionally-graded students and the students who were graded with standards-based grading. The results of this study indicate that standards-based grading may offer improved methods of communication between teachers, parents, and students and may give students a new perception of learning. Standards-based grading strategies require careful planning, dedication, and follow through. It is not an endeavor to be entered into lightly, but rather, the appropriate amount of time, resources, and preparation can provide students the chance to truly learn content at a mastery level. The mastery of material will, in turn, translate into higher success on high-stakes testing.


Algebra | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Educational Methods | Elementary and Middle and Secondary Education Administration | Mathematics