Date of Award

Fall 2019

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Studies

First Advisor

Leigh D'Amico


The purpose of this action research study was to determine the impact that four standards-based (SBG) grading practices have on students' ability to critically and accurately self-assess their understanding of secondary mathematics learning objectives, as well as the overall impact on student learning. This research took place over twelve instructional weeks in a ninth-grade mathematics class. During the first four weeks, the baseline cycle, students completed weekly formative assessment items and an accompanying assessment reflection; traditional assessment practices were enforced during the baseline cycle. During the final eight weeks, the treatment cycle, students continued to complete weekly formative assessment items and accompanying assessment reflection, but four SBG practices were introduced. The four SBG practices are 1) alignment of formative assessment items to content descriptors, 2) opportunity to be assessed at varying levels of difficulty, 3) student choice of assessment difficulty, and 4) opportunity to improve assessment results.

A concurrent triangulation mixed methods methodology was used, and multiple forms of data were collected. The impact of the four SBG practices on the accuracy of students' self-assessment (SA) and the overall impact on student learning was analyzed quantitatively. The impact on the quality of students' SA was analyzed qualitatively. Data analysis revealed that the treatment positively impacted the accuracy of students' SA and student achievement, but no significant impact on the quality of students' SA. However, throughout this action research study I engaged in a cycle of systematic inquiry by observing student behaviors and reflecting on the qualitative data. By doing so I learned that what and how students think about the opportunity to self-assess, or they value they have for self-assessing their performance, impacted the quality of their SA.


© 2019, Alison Espinosa