Show me the numbers! Standards-based grading quantitative research

The following is a list of some, but likely not all, dissertations and journal articles investigating standards-based grading using quantitative methods. The summaries were copied and pasted from within the published abstract unless noted otherwise.

While there was an increase in all grading areas, two showed a significant difference—the Physical Science course content average (p = 0.024) and ix the Biology EOCT scores (p = 0.0876). These gains suggest that standards-based grading can have a positive impact on the academic performance of African American students. Secondly, this study examined the correlation between the course content averages and the EOCT scores for both the traditional and standards-based grading system; for both Physical Science and Biology, there was a stronger correlation between these two scores for the standards-based grading system.

Bradburd-Bailey, M. (2011). A preliminary investigation into the effect of standards-based grading on the academic performance of african-american students. (Doctoral dissertation). Available from ProQuest Dissertations and Theses. (3511593). [Available online]

This study examined the correlation between the grades a student earns in his or her classroom and the scores that each student earned on the Colorado Student Assessment Program tests, in Reading, Writing, Math, and Science. The study also examined the mean scores of varying sub-groups to determine if certain sub-groups demonstrated higher means, dependent of the school districts that they were enrolled. While all the school districts that participated in the study showed a significant level of correlation between grades and test scores, Roaring Fork School District Re-1, using a standards-based grading model demonstrated both higher correlations and higher mean scores and grades across, the overall population and sub-groups.

Haptonstall, K.G. (2010). An analysis of the correlation between standards- based, non-standards-based grading systems and achievement as measured by the colorado student assessment program (CSAP). (Doctoral dissertation).  Available from ProQuest Dissertations and Theses (3397087).

From the article, as the abstract was a bit vague communicating results:  “The results of this study provide evidence that a standards-based grading system, as opposed to a traditional-based grading system, is more closely aligned with the results of the Scholastic Math Inventory standardized test” (p. 12).

Lehman, E., DeJong, D., & Baron, M. (2018). Investigating the relationship of standards-based gradesvs. traditional-based grades to results of the scholastic math inventory at the middle school level. Educational Leadership Review of Doctoral Research, 6, 1-16. [Available online]

This study focused on how student learning was impacted when secondary math, science, and language arts teachers use standards-based grading practices in their classrooms. Student learning was measured by term grades and end-of-level SAGE test scores. Results show students who attended a classroom with standards-based grades earned higher GPAs, performed better on the end-of-level test, and had more learning growth over the course of the school year, than their peers who participated in traditional grading classrooms.

Poll, T. R. (2019). Standards-based grading: A correlational study between grades and end-of-level test scores (Doctoral dissertation). Available through ProQuest Dissertations and Theses (13428322). [Available online]

Results indicated that the rate of students earning an A or B in a course and passing the state test approximately doubled when utilizing standards-based grading practices. In addition, results indicated that standards-based grading practices identified more predictive and valid assessment of at-risk students’ attainment of subject knowledge.

Pollio, M. & Hochbein, C. (2015). The association between standards-based grading and standardized test scores as an element of a high school reform model. Teachers College Record, 117(11), 1-28.

Students at both the honors level and the regular level of mathematics were included in the study. Honors students performed better than regular students on both assessments, but no significant difference was found between the performance of traditionally-graded students and the students who were graded with standards-based grading. The results of this study indicate that standards-based grading may offer improved methods of communication between teachers, parents, and students and may give students a new perception of learning. Standards-based grading strategies require careful planning, dedication, and follow through. It is not an endeavor to be entered into lightly, but rather, the appropriate amount of time, resources, and preparation can provide students the chance to truly learn content at a mastery level.

Rosales, R.B. (2013). The effects of standards-based grading on student performance in algebra 2 (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from

Leave a Reply