Deficiencies of Traditional Grading Systems and Recommendations for the Future

Jeff Cain, Melissa Medina, Frank Romanelli, Adam Persky

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Objective. To review issues surrounding the use of grades in the educational process and provide evidence-based recommendations for how to redesign grading practices for optimal value. Findings. Traditional tiered grading systems (ie, A, B, C, etc) have historically been a major component of the formal educational process. The way grades are used and interpreted are typically based on some commonly held assumptions, including that they are accurate measures of learning, that they motivate students to learn, and that they provide feedback to learners. However, much of the research regarding grades indicates that flaws exist in these assumptions. Grades may not always accurately measure learning, they can have adverse effects on student motivation, and they are not a good form of feedback. Summary. The Academy should consider the evidence regarding the purpose, effects, and interpretation of grades in the educational process. Despite barriers and potential pushback, pharmacy educators should revise grading practices to be more accurate, interpretable, and beneficial to learner development.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8850
Pages (from-to)908-915
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Pharmaceutical Education
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy. All rights reserved.


  • assessment
  • feedback
  • grades
  • motivation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Pharmacy
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics (all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Deficiencies of Traditional Grading Systems and Recommendations for the Future'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this