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Enrollment patterns and academic performance as a function of registration under a pass-fail grading system

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Abstract

An experimental “pass-fail” grading system was examined to determine if interdisciplinary exploration was encouraged by modifying the competitive aspects of grading and to examine the performance of students enrolling in pass-fail courses in the light of their past achievement and the performance of classmates. Results of the study suggest that the pass-fail grading situation encouraged study across a wider area of subjects, but also was associated with lower achievement as reflected by a familiar grading scheme. A review of the literature indicated that a need for valid evaluation of student progress is acknowledged by virtually all writers, but that numerous arguments attack the manner in which grades are assigned and used and attack the lack of knowledge about the psychometric attributes of traditional grading arrangements.

Résumé

Un système expérimental de notation “réussite-échec” a été mis à l'étude afin de déterminer si l'on pourrait encourager l'exploration interdisciplinaire en modifiant les aspects compétitifs de la notation et aussi afin d'évaluer le rendement des étudiants inscrits aux cours notés selon système réussite-échec à la lumière des réalisations antérieures de ces étudiants et du rendement de leurs camarades de classe. Les résultats de cette étude laissent entendre que le système en question a encouragé les étudiants à porter leur intérêt vers un plus grand nombre de sujets, mais qu'il s'en est suivi des résultats moins brillants en comparaison des résultats obtenus par le système de notation classique. Une étude de la littérature publiée à ce sujet indique que presque tous les auteurs reconnaissent la nécessité de disposer d'une méthode d'évaluation valable des progrès des étudiants, mais il existe de nombreux arguments contre la façon dont les notes sont accordées et utilisées et contre le manque de connaissance des attributs psychométriques de la méthode de notation traditionnelle.

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Reiner, J.R., Jung, L.B. Enrollment patterns and academic performance as a function of registration under a pass-fail grading system. Interchange 3, 53–62 (1972). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02145943

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Keywords

  • Psychometric Attribute
  • Academic Performance
  • Grade System
  • Lower Achievement
  • Valid Evaluation