ABSTRACT

Course grades are not typically used as primary data for assessing learning in reports prepared for accreditation due to a complicated history. This article encourages readers to reconsider by offering several examples of grade analysis to show how to estimate students’ abilities and course difficulties, and link those to discipline-specific learning. Linear and ordinal regression are used to model rubric rating averages over time, plausibly showing that student ability affects learning development. Another analysis offers a way to estimate marginal learning gains associated with course rigor. The examples give rise to several research questions that can contribute to a body of practical research on grades, student success, student learning, and equity of outcomes.

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