Journal article

Qualitatively different ways of differentiating student achievement: A phenomenographic study of academics' conceptions of grade descriptors

KHK Tan, M Prosser

Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education | Published : 2004


The term 'grade descriptors' has commonly been used to refer to the practice of describing for students characteristic work that would merit different grades. This paper reports the results of a phenomenographic study on the different ways that academic staff understood and practised grade descriptors as forms of standards-based assessment. Four qualitatively different conceptions of grade descriptors were identified. Firstly, grade descriptors were described as 'generic descriptors' as they depict achievement levels as descriptions of standards for generic purposes. Secondly, grade descriptors were understood as 'grade distributors' as they focus on how students' work can be understood in t..

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