Date of Award

Spring 5-14-2021

Document Type

Project (696 or 796 registration)

Degree Name

Master of Science in Curriculum & Instruction


Graduate Studies

Committee Chair

Aaron Peterson


Gradeless learning, engagement, motivation, traditional grading practices


In order for students to learn at high levels, there must be high expectations and strong feedback. Although traditional grading seems to be an inherent part of the educational system, there are multiple purposes for grades which often causes frustrations for both teachers and students. There is a need to expand the research on grading and its effect on both student learning and motivation. This action research study centered on three research questions: 1) What effect does the elimination of traditional grading practices have on student engagement in learning? 2) What impact does the removal of traditional grading practices and implementation of a reflective process have on students’ perception of their learning? 3) What effect does student self-evaluations to determine final grades have on potential grade inflation?

To determine these answers traditional grading practices were eliminated, including giving points for homework, averaging grades, and giving zeroes. These were replaced by a quarterly self-reflection completed by students and presented to the teacher. Engagement data was collected as well as gradebook data in which student work was evaluated by the teacher. Data was also collected through student surveys in order to determine student perceptions of learning and engagement. The qualitative results revealed that students have a desire to learn through accurate feedback and that traditional grading practices often interfere with learning and motivation.



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