The Problem With Grades

We all spend the majority of our youths chasing acceptable grades or coping with the ramifications of unacceptable ones. Isn’t it odd that we invest so much objective importance into such subjective measures? Amy and Mike invited professor and author Laura Link to clarify the problem with grades.

What are five things you will learn in this episode?

  1. How have grading philosophies and practices evolved in the 21st century?
  2. Why has teacher autonomy remained such a central aspect of grading?
  3. Does including both academic and behavioral factors in grading help or hurt?
  4. What problems are caused by inconsistent grading standards?
  5. How can academic grading be improved?


Laura J. Link, Ed.D., is an Assistant Professor of Teaching & Leadership and Director of the Master of Science in Teaching & Leadership program at the University of North Dakota. She holds a doctorate in Leadership & Policy Studies from the University of Memphis, and her research focuses on developing and supporting highly effective leaders and organizational cultures that prioritize effective grading practices, collaboration, and meaningful assessment. She is the co-author of Cornerstones of Strong Schools: Practices for Purposeful Leadership (with J. Zoul, 2007), and author of Leadership in Grading Reform in What We Know About Grading (Guskey, T. R., & Brookhart, S. M., Eds., 2019) as well as multiple book chapters and articles such as Is Standards-Based Grading Effective? (2022), Are Your Grading Policies Legally Sound? (2021), How Traditional Grading Contributes to Student Inequalities and How to Fix It (2019), and Teachers’ Perceptions of Grading Practices: How Pre-service Training Makes a Difference (2018). Dr. Link also leads K-12 assessment and grading academies and has led an array of other professional development efforts, classes, and initiatives over her career. Since 2002, Dr. Link has presented locally and nationally on the topics of high-impact leadership, K-12 grading, mastery learning, research-practice partnerships, teacher support, and more.

Before joining UND, Dr. Link served as Associate Dean of the College of Public Service at the University of Houston-Downtown in Texas. At UHD, she created the university’s first-ever Educational Leadership graduate programs, including a Foundations of Educational Leadership Certificate that is the only one of its kind in the state of Texas, and she facilitated an array of K-12 district partnerships. She also created the UHD’s first Urban Education Advisory Board, which involves superintendents and executive leaders from across the greater Houston region. Additionally, Dr. Link was an Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership at Purdue University Fort Wayne in Indiana. At PFW, she was an active member of the CAEP Assessment Steering Committee, led various local K-12 assessment and grading academies, co-facilitated PFW’s University Leadership Academy, and directed the Professors in Partnership K-16 collaborative.

Prior to her higher education experience, Dr. Link served as Chief Academic Officer at Jackson-Madison County Schools in Jackson, TN, and was Assistant Superintendent of Teaching & Learning as well as Chief of Talent Management in Shelby County Schools in Memphis, TN. She was 1 of 7 Transition Steering Committee members charged with leading the largest school district merger in United States’ history. Additionally, Dr. Link has served in an array of central office and school-based administrative roles (in both urban and suburban settings) and has taught elementary, middle, high school and college students over her 32 years in public and private education. Dr. Link also served as a long-standing state Board Member of Learning Forward Tennessee and President of Learning Forward Indiana, a professional association devoted exclusively to those who work in K-16 professional development.

Find Laura at


Every teacher grades differently, which isn’t fair




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Mike Bergin is the president of Chariot Learning and founder of TestBright. Amy Seeley is the president of Seeley Test Pros. If you’re interested in working with Mike and/or Amy for test preparation, training, or consulting, feel free to get in touch through our contact page. We’d love to hear from you!

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