Soncini Annalisa

Reducing the negative effects of grading on pupils’ motivation and achievement by establishing a positive error climate in classroom


The normative use of grading as assessment for students’ performance has been shown to yield detrimental effects on students’ motivation, achievement and learning outcomes (i.e., Butler, 1988; Pulfrey, Buchs, & Butera, 2011).  
In many countries the presence of grades, like a summative and formative assessment (Brookhart, 2004), is required by the law and for this reason grades are very used despite of these negative effects. This is one of the reasons why it could be difficult to change completely this characteristic of school systems. Nevertheless, it is important discovering which way could allow to limit the negative effect of grading. Regarding this, we would propose to focus on the studies about error climate in classroom. Making mistake is an unavoidable part of learning process and for some years it has been grown a research interest in using error as starting point of learning process. Grades and error are related in a way: poor grades could become an instrument to highlight a great number of errors. Errors could be viewed as negative cues which would determine a negative grade and thus, they would become a sign of scholastic failure. We assumed that it could be possible that changing the way in which students perceive errors could lead to an effect on the meaning of the errors and also on the meaning and the importance of grades. In this way, it could be possible to face the problem of negative effects of grading without trying to remove this kind of evaluation from school system.
The main purpose of this research is to understand the relation between errors and grading and the effect of this relation on students’ motivation and achievement.


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