A standard based grading system is supposed to support equality and accountability. Nevertheless teachers sometimes refer to an internalized grading (Hay & McDonald, 2008; Svennberg, Meckbach & Redelius, 2014) and the validity of the grades have been questioned (Annerstedt & Larsson, 2008). Our aim is to explore Swedish PE teachers’ grading practice and what they value in the grades they have given their students.
Four PE teachers in compulsory school were interviewed with the Repertory Grid (RG) technique. The RG technique can be used to reveal a person’s perception of a specific topic that the person is familiar with, by examining the similarities and differences between well-known elements (Fransella, Bell & Bannister, 2004). In the first step, the teacher was asked to select seven to eight students from a class that he or she was teaching and grading in PE. The students selected must represent all possible grades (Fransella et al., 2004). In the second step, the names of three of the students at the time were presented to the teacher who was asked in what way, relevant for the grades, two of the students were similar and different from the third (Fransella et al., 2004). In the third step the teachers were asked to rate the students on how they corresponded to the similarities and differences mentioned. The resulting grids were analysed with the programme WEBGRID5.
Besides knowledge and skills all four teachers valued standard irrelevant criteria. Their rating of the students on the standard irrelevant criteria generally matched the grades given. Among the national standards mentioned there were differences in how they matched the given grades. Other national standards were not mentioned at all. It seems like some standards have been better implemented then others.
The results indicate the need for a discussion of why it seems to be an urge to use standard irrelevant criteria such as motivation and effort that is stronger than the desire for compliance to the national grading criteria. Bernsteins’ interrelated systems of curriculum, pedagogy and assessment (2003) can contribute to the understanding. It is also important to discuss why some national grading criteria are easier for the teachers to implement then others.
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Bernstein B. (2003). Class, codes and control. (Vol. 3) Towards a theory of educational transmission, Routledge & Kegan Paul, London.
Fransella, F., Bell, R. & Bannister, D. (2004). A manual for repertory grid technique. (2nd. ed.). Wiley, Chichester, West Sussex.
Hay P, MacDonald D. (2008). Assessment In Education: Principles, Policy & Practice 15(2): 153-168.
Svennberg L, Meckbach J, Redelius K. (2014). European Physical Education Review, 20(2), 199-214.
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