Grading matters for students, faculty and institutions. Grading (associated with the term ‘summative assessment’) has been known to motivate students in their learning and can be associated with their self-esteem.
Poor performance can hinder students’ progression. We need be able to stand over our grades and ensure that there are reliable, in particular between different graders (inter-rater reliability).
UCD has a standard grading scale for module component grades (See Academic Regulation 4.24-4.31).
For more on UCD Grading approaches see UCD Registry's Assessment web page.
Whereas most scales have grades (or percentages), the option of a Pass/Fail grade is also a possibility where, for example, the context of the learning opportunity is so diverse that consistency of grading is challenging, or a competency/skill required does not lend itself to a range of grades (see UCD Academic regulation around use of pass/fail, i.e. Reg 4.15.) There is an interesting debate around the value of norm-referenced (students ranked against each other) and criterion-referenced assessment (where students are rated against a given criteria). UCD’s use of grade descriptors is more akin to criterion-referenced assessment.
Grading takes practice. At the beginning you may need more structure, whereas over time you can develop a more holistic judgement.
Reflect on your own views around grading and any past experiences of grading. Whereas you need to be supportive of students in their assessment, students also need to be prepared for more complex assessments in the future. If you are new to this activity you should discuss the assessment’s standards and calibrate your grades with a more experienced examiner.
If you are more experienced grader, the above still applies. However, if you have developed a more holistic approach to your judgement (You know a good assessment standard when you see it!!), you need to be able to be transparent and share with your students how you have come to this judgement.
When you are developing the expectations for the standard of the assessment for your module, there are some national, institutional and disciplinary influences that are important to consider when clarifying the standard to be obtained by students:
The UCD Governance Document Library contains the official version of statutes, regulations, policies and other key documents applicable to the governance of the University, i.e. Academic Regulations; Assessment Code of Practice; Extern examiner policy and guidelines; Extenuating circumstances policy and guidelines.