Interpretations of criteria-based assessment and grading in higher education.
The increasing use of criteria-based approaches to assessment and grading in higher education is a consequence of its sound theoretical rationale and its educational effectiveness. This article is based on a review of the most common grading policies that purport to be criteria-based. The analysis shows that there is no common understanding of what criteria-based means or what it implies for practice. This has inhibited high-quality discourse, research and development among scholars and practitioners. Additionally, the concepts of 'criteria' and 'standards' are often confused and, despite the use of criteria, the fundamental judgments teachers make about the quality of student work remain subjective and substantially hidden from the students' view. As they stand, none of the approaches identified in the survey is fully capable of delivering on the aspirations of criteria-based grading. Shifting the primary focus to standards and making criteria secondary could, however, lead to substantial progress.
Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education