Teachers struggle to balance achievement, effort, talent, student background, and context, and seem hesitant to make their criteria explicit and public for fear of losing the ability to individualize their grading practices. However, in their struggles to be fair to individual students and to use grades for motivational purposes, teachers may not realize that they are not holding all students to the same standards. Blanke (1999) admits "The ethics of grading begins with a determination of the educator's goals" (136).
According to Marzano (2000), grades are needed for: (a) administrative purposes to control students' performance; (b) for instructional planning, (c) feedback for students; (d) "guidance to students about future course work" (e) motivational purposes (45). Concerns about consistency of grading have received the most empirical attention in large scale programs rather than in classroom assessments. Marzano (2000) explains that: "there is no right way or wrong way to design grades, there are ways that fit best with a given set of assumptions or beliefs" (47).
The grades should include academic achievements of the students and their efforts during the course. The grades should evaluate thinking and reasoning skills, work completion and participation (Marzano 35).