Analytic Quality Glossary


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Citation reference: Harvey, L., 2004-21, Analytic Quality Glossary, Quality Research International,

This is a dynamic glossary and the author would welcome any e-mail suggestions for additions or amendments. Page updated 18 June, 2021 , © Lee Harvey 2004–2021.


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core definition

Grading is the process of scoring or ranking student academic work as part of assessing student learning.

explanatory context

Grading is also referred to as marking in some countries.

analytical review

Walvoord and Anderson, (1998, pp 1–3, emphases in original) state that when they speak of grading they are:

not referring to a process of merely bestowing isolated artifacts [sic] or final course marks. Rather, we are referring to the process by which a teacher assesses student learning through classroom tests and assignments, the context in which good teachers establish that process, and the dialogue that surrounds grades and defines their meaning to various audiences…we view grading as a context-dependent, complex process that serves several roles [evaluation, communication, motivation, and organization]. 

Furthermore, they differentiate between assessment of learning and grading


The University of South Australia (2011) refers to grades and distinguishes them from marks although the former, depite being qualitative measures, are compiled into an average:

Grade: A grade is a qualitative descriptor used to signify a range of percentage marks or the status of a result where percentage marks are not applicable. Grades indicate the level of performance in a course against specified criteria and standards. Grades are awarded in all courses. The grading system for courses at the University can be found in Section 8 of this Manual.

Grade Point Average (GPA): Grade point average is the calculation of a student's average performance over a specified period, such as a teaching period, an academic year, or over the duration of the program. The calculation is based on the grade, the grade point value associated with that grade, and the unit value of each course.

Mark: A mark is a quantitative value, often expressed as a percentage, which is awarded for an assessment task.

associated issues

related areas

See also

assessment [of quality]

assessment of student learning

assessment of teaching

summative assessment


University of South Australia, 2011, General Definitions available at, accessed 23 July 2012, still available 3 January 2017, not found 26 June 2019.

Walvoord, B. and  Anderson, V.J., 1998, Effective Grading (Jossey-Bass).

copyright Lee Harvey 2004–2021

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