Non-punitive grading practices in the two-year college
The status of non-punitive grading practices and policies in the two-year college remained highly uncertain due to a lack of substantive research. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to answer the following research questions: (1) How many public and private two-year colleges are currently using non-punitive grading practices? (2) What are the different forms of non-punitive grading practices now in use in public and private two-year colleges? (3) Are there differences in non-punitive grading practices among two-year colleges with different enrollment classification? (4) Are there differences in non-punitive grading practices among public and among private two-year colleges with different levels of academic policy control? (5) Are there differences in non-punitive grading practices among public and among private two-year colleges with different curricular emphasis? (6) What is the level of satisfaction among Deans of Instruction with the current non-punitive grading in public and private two-year colleges? (7) What are the future trends of non-punitive grading practices in public and private two-year colleges?
The Non-Punitive Grading Practices Survey was designed to address the seven major research questions and was sent to 1,030 chief academic officers of public (n=866) and private (n=164} two-year colleges located in the continental United States. Seven hundred seventy-eight usable returns were received, representing a 75.5 percent response rate.
The following conclusions were drawn from the findings: (1) Nonpunitive grading practices, in its purest forms, remain a viable grading system in a limited number of public and private two-year colleges during 1980-1981. (2) Non-punitive grading practices are considered to be "experimental" by many administrators and the majority of users of non-punitive grading do so on a limited basis. (3) Most academic deans in two-year colleges do not believe that non-punitive grading is consistent with the mission of their respective institutions. (4) An overwhelming majority of the deans in institutions with non-punitive grading practices favor non-punitive grades which represent the least change from traditional grading systems. (5) For non-punitive grading systems to be the exclusive methods of student evaluation academic policy control must be maintained at the local or state level. (6) University control over the academic policy of a two-year college is detrimental to the existence of non-punitive grading systems. (7) Curricular emphasis within pµblic community colleges has no apparent effect on the utilization of non-punitive grading practices. (8) Deans of instruction who utilize non-punitive grading practices, exclusively or experimentally, are very satisfied with these grading systems and practices. (9) No revolutionary changes in grading. systems are likely to occur in the next five years. (10) Non-punitive grading. systems will remain the minority grading systems in public two-year colleges.· (11) It is further concluded that faculty support is vital to the implementation and the deletion of non-punitive grading practices in two-year colleges.