Abstract for “Predictivity of Standards-Based Report Card Models for Standardized Test Scores: A Taxonomic Mixed Methods Study:”

Traditional letter and number grades are inaccurate and harmful to children, while research indicates that standards-based grading is both more accurate and better for all stakeholders. However, despite standards-based report cards (SBRCs) coming in many forms, the best number and arrangement of performance level descriptors (PLDs) remains unexplored by research. This sequential, exploratory, transformative mixed methods study, completed in five stages, was designed to quantitatively analyze the relationships between SBRC models, PLDs, and the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL) tests. After conducting a systematic literature review, the author created a new taxonomy to classify SBRCs, and qualitatively applied that taxonomy to existing models as well as data from the study, and then performed quantitative analysis. No practical difference was found between SBRC models regarding their efficacy in predicting SOL-test outcomes. While this indicates various SBRCs may be effectively similar in predicting the outcome of standardized tests, psychological research demonstrating the harmful aspects of ranking children with traditional grades must be considered as a possible way to differentiate between these models.

Defended November 2021. Chair: J. Vince Nix. Committee members: Kelly Brown and Hunter Keeney.