User:Jrradney/My sandbox/Academic Performance Criteria

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Academic Performance Criteria

There is considerable debate over the practice of assigning grades to academic work. This document is neither offered to support the practice of grading work nor to undermine its practice in traditional educational institutions.

In many fields of study, examinations test the abilities of students in numeric ways, and grades given as a result of such performance may reasonably predict student success at solving similar problems at similar levels of performance (the apparent fact that such examination performance is not a reliable predictor of future performance is troubling to academics in these fields, but it is beyond the present scope of discussion to consider such matters more fully.

The focus of this present discussion is upon fields of study, disciplines, in which numerical scores for academic performance are complicated at best (usually impossible). The most prominent of these disciplines are the humanities. This discussion of performance criteria addresses the need to assign grades to work done in university classes according to some standard understanding of levels of performance. The following is advanced as a beginning point for discussion, and it is hoped that others will respond to this document on the discussion page in such a way as to clarify our understanding and progress in our ability to assign grades fairly.


In the opinion of the assessor, the performance meets all requirements for the assignment and a significant amount of initiative or creativity is demonstrated in the extent of the performance, the manner in which it is performed, or the means by which it is performed.


It is the assessment of the evaluator that the performance significantly meets requirements set forth for the assignment. Flaws that remain are consistent with work done at this level of study, but there is no demonstration of initiative beyond such requirements.


In the opinion of the assessor, significant flaws exist in the performance that detract from the demonstration of assigned skills, understanding or attitudes. A majority of the assigned items are demonstrated, but with significant gaps or errors.


It is the opinion of the assessor that a significant amount of the requirements of the assignment are demonstrated, with the resulting conclusion that the performer could not have achieved the results without exposure to the course curriculum. That said, however, the performance does not exhibit a majority of the expectations of the assignment, or the performance is inconsistent to a point where the evaluator cannot be sure the performer adequately controls the attitudes, skills, and understanding expected by the curriculum.


In the opinion of the evaluator, the performance does not successfully meet the standards of the task assigned to a degree that demonstrates comprehension of any significant amount of the course curriculum. Specifically, the performance done might be expected to have been done without any exposure to the material presented in the course.


An application of this discussion to the evaluation of academic essays may be found at Essay Criteria. The extension and refinement of the discussion above will hopefully establish standards for the evaluation of work done in the humanities such that evaluators have an easier time discerning performance, but even more so that students can know ahead of time how their performance will be evaluated. It is hoped that the effect of both these results will lead to greater confidence in the performance and assessment of work in classes and lower levels of stress and anxiety in such tasks.