School of Education


Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD)


Brian Jones


grading practices, grading beliefs, grading decisions, secondary teachers, teacher feedback, motivation, efficacy


Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research


The purpose of this hermeneutic phenomenological study was to understand the lived experiences of secondary teachers who grade student work, including their grading beliefs, decisions, and feedback practices at Discovery Hills Unified School District. The theory that guided this study was self-determination theory as it helps explain the motivation, both intrinsic and extrinsic, for teacher grading practices and the impact of teacher feedback on students. The central question was: What are secondary teachers’ lived experiences with grading student work? Sub questions were used to explore the beliefs, decisions, and practices secondary teachers employ when grading student work or providing feedback. The design for this study followed phenomenological research data collection methods to guide the gathering of data from the lived experiences of secondary teachers across the history/social studies and English content areas in three middle and two high schools. Data sources included individual interviews, focus groups, and letter-writing. The data was analyzed via triangulation and thematic saturation. Further analysis included micro coding, memoing, pattern coding, in vivo coding, and member checks. From the analysis of the data, themes were generated and their interpretations detailed. The results of this study revealed that teachers desire training on best grading and feedback practices that will uncomplicate and systematize grades. Moreover, effective feedback practices were found to impact teacher and student motivation for learning in secondary English and history/social studies classes.