EXAMINING THE ALIGNMENT OF GRADING POLICIES IN THE CHINESE EDUCATION SYSTEM
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A grade is a prevalent symbol used to communicate student performance over a period of learning. Grading is the process of assigning a grade, which can be affected by a variety of determinant factors (e.g., achievement and non-achievement factors), scales, reporting formats, and other socio-personal factors (e.g., subjects, schools, teachers’ personal beliefs, and teachers’ values). Grading policies, standards, and documents are published to establish and maintain consistencies for teachers’ grading practices. However, grading policies are evident across multiple levels within an educational systems (e.g., governmental, state/provincial, school district, school family, school, grade level), which can contribute to diverse conceptions of grading causing potential discrepancies related to grade determination, interpretation, and use. This research aims to examine the alignment of grading policies at three educational levels––national, provincial and school––within the Chinese educational system. This study aims to respond to the following questions: (a) how do national, provincial, and school level grading policies describe the purpose and process of grading, and (b) what is the degree of alignment across grading policies from national, provincial, and school levels. Results from this study found that there are points of alignment and misalignment related to the purpose and process of grading across system levels. Data from this study may contribute to knowledge of grades and grading in the Chinese context, and may also serve as a reference for future grading policies and grading related studies.