Easing stress:Contract grading's impact on adolescents’ perceptions of workload demands, time constraints, and challenge appraisal in high school English

Ward, E. (2021) Easing stress:Contract grading's impact on adolescents’ perceptions of workload demands, time constraints, and challenge appraisal in high school English. Assessing Writing, 48. ISSN 1075-2935

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Abstract

Mastery-based contract grading is a holistic assessment approach for learning and grading in which students choose their desired effort and outcome by contracting for either an A or B to meet high academic standards. This mixed-methods study examined the impact of mastery-based contract grading on secondary students’ (grades 9–12) perceptions of stress and threat appraisal. Participants were 439 adolescents, including 284 returning students and 155 first-year students, completing a high-stakes writing assessment in their required English course. Using an explanatory sequential design, interviews with 40 adolescents from all grade levels and course types explained the findings of matched-pairs quantitative data generated from four psychometrically sound scales. The findings revealed that the contract significantly reduced evaluative threat by clarifying expectations and bolstering confidence. Consequently, compared to their prior experience with or expectations for the task, adolescents perceived workload demands as significantly less stressful and threatening under the contract. The findings of this study make a significant contribution to the field of writing assessment, leading to a call to action for teachers to implement mastery-based contract grading in high school classrooms to create psycho-emotionally healthy learning environments that reduce perceptions of stress and increase challenge appraisal. © 2021 Elsevier Inc.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Assessing Writing
Additional Information:
This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Assessing Writing. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Assessing Writing, 48, 2022 DOI: 10.1016/j.asw.2021.100526
Uncontrolled Keywords:
/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/1200/1203
Subjects:
ID Code:
171175
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
01 Jun 2022 15:05
Refereed?:
Yes
Published?:
Published
Last Modified:
22 Nov 2022 10:01