Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Education (Ed.D.)


Administrative and Instructional Leadership

First Advisor

Anthony Annunziato

Second Advisor

Richard Bernardo


Traditional grading practices have been in place for well over a hundred years and grades received served to identify in which subjects a student is “smart” or in which ones they are not (Dewitt, 2017). The problem with traditional grading is that it does not provide qualitative information on the difference between an A, B, C, D, or F (Scriffiny, 2008). Standards-based grading allows the communication of where a student is in relation to well-defined standards. The problem is that many schools do not implement a standards-based grading and reporting system at the secondary level. This is in light of our nation and New York State having made considerable efforts and changes to establish well-defined standards. Although there is a misalignment in our grading practices, an overwhelming majority of our schools continue to use a traditional grading and reporting system to communicate student learning at the secondary level. As movement to a standards-based model has been noted at the primary grades, the purpose of this study is to identify the extent to which district level administrators are willing to change from a traditional grading system to a standards-based grading and reporting method at the secondary level. More specifically, this research attempted to discover the views of superintendents and assistant superintendents in changing from a traditional grading and reporting system to a standards based grading model at the secondary level. Unveiling the perceived impediments to implementing a SBG system at the secondary level was done by focusing on districts that have not implemented SBG at the secondary level and currently have a traditional grading model. To conduct this study, the researcher used a qualitative approach by conducting semi-structured exploratory interviews. Participants in the study were certified public school superintendents and assistant superintendents currently employed in a New York public high school (non-charter) in two suburban New York State counties. The selected population was presented with interview questions aimed at determining general background information as it relates to grading, if it is believed that standards-based grading is important at the secondary level, how district level administrators would make a change from a traditional model to a standards-based model, and what, if any, barriers and challenges exist in making such a change.