Please report broken links to us. Paid resources are noted with **. Note: all research should be looked at through a critical lens, there is no denying that many research studies fail to be replicated or have mixed results.


Motivation and Cheating During Adolescence. Anderman, Eric, et al. American Educational Research Association. 1997.

  • Study shows that students who see assessment as a test of performance and extrinsic incentives, rather than mastery and improvement, are more likely to cheat.

The Relations of Learning and Grade Orientations to Academic Performance. Beck, H. P., Rorrer-Woody, S., & Pierce, L. G. Teaching of Psychology. 1991.

  • Study that showcases how people with a mindset of "grading orientation" (focused on grades) perform worse in terms of GPA and general psychology testing as opposed to those with a "learning orientation" (focused on learning.)

Quality of Learning With an Active Versus Passive Motivational Set^. Benware, Carl, Deci, Edward American Educational Research Journal. 1984.

  • Presents data that students who knew they were going to teach information (active learning) were more motivated, learned more, and felt more engaged than those who simply passively received information.

Task-Involving and Ego-Involving Properties of Evaluation: Effects of Different Feedback Conditions on Motivational Perceptions, Interest, and Performance. Butler, Ruth. Journal of Educational Psychology. 1987.

  • When giving feedback, no grades with purely written or oral comments for improvement had the highest impact on continued motivation of students.

Enhancing and Undermining Intrinsic Motivation: The Effects of Task-Involving and Ego-Involving Evaluation of Interest and Performance. Butler, Ruth. Journal of Educational Psychology. 1988.

  • Similar to Butler's first study, no grades with purely written or oral comments for improvement continued motivation for all students, whereas only students who received high grades for graded assessment had continued motivation.

Grading Hampers Cooperative Information Sharing in Group Problem Solving. Hayek, Anne-Sophie et. al. Solvay Brussels School Economics & Management. 2015.

  • Experiment demonstrates how when members of a group knew that their contribution would be visible and graded, they shared less relevant information, in comparison to someone who was not expecting a contribution grade

Response to Assessment Feedback: The Effects of Grades, Praise, and Source of Information. Lipnevich, Anastasiya. Smith, Jeffrey. ETS. 2008.

  • Detailed feedback without grades was shown to have the most improvement on future student work.

Student and peer assessment in action. Logan, Elaine. University of Cumbria. 2009.

  • Findings demonstrate that although peer and self assessment initially take a long period to implement (requiring time for reflection and general unfamiliarity), students have fundamental gains in self-critical leading.

A Second Look at Grading and Classroom Performance: Report of a Research Study.** Moeller, Aleidine J., Reschke, Claus Modern Language Journal. 1993.

  • Data found shows that there was no additional motivation from grading for any test performance.

Peer / Self Assessment and Student Learning. Ndoye, Abdou. International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. 2017.

  • Demonstrates the efficacy of using self (and peer) reflection through sampled graduate students. Not only did students have increased academic performance, but also higher motivation, understanding of the purpose of the course, and a more supportive learning environment.

Making the Grade in a Portfolio-Based System: Student Performance and Student Perspective. Nowacki, Amy. Frontiers in Psychology. 2013.

  • Based on doctoral candidates, students who received a traditional portfolio grade did slightly better, but had increased stress. Notably, students felt they had more self-assurance from receiving a grade, making the case for better feedback mechanisms.

Do Grades Shape Students' School Engagement? The Psychological Consequences of Report Card Grades at the Beginning of Secondary School. Poorthuis, Astrid et. al. Journal of Educational Psychology. 2015.

  • Students who were presented their grade cards halfway through the year showcased decreased motivation, engagement, and performance after receiving a low marking.

Why Grades Engender Performance-Avoidance Goals: The Mediating Role of Autonomous Motivation. Pulfrey, Caroline. Buchs, Celine. American Psychological Association. 2011.

  • Multiple experiments reveal that students when pressured with a grade are less likely to be motivated and/or would be more likely to perform as best as possible.

Assessing does not mean threatening: The purpose of assessment as a key determinant of girls’ and boys’ performance in a science class. Souchal, Carine et. al. British Journal of Educational Psychology. 2014.

  • A small study which demonstrates how competitive grading of tests led to perceptions on gender-based performance.


Assessment Matters: Self-Assessment and Peer Assessment. Ako, Wahanga. The University of Waikato. 2012.

  • Guides both peer- and self- assessment, showcasing best practice in both of its utilizations. The overview emphasizes the need for change in the core structure of teaching - placing more responsibility on learners rather than the instructor.

The Trouble with Rubrics. Kohn, Alfie. English Journal. 2006.

  • Shows that standardization of learning for student outcomes as well as the focus on achieving rather than learning is detrimental to students.

The Case Against Grades. Kohn, Alfie. Educational Leadership. 2011.

  • Various facets that demonstrate how grading has a negative impact on learning.

Competitive Grading Sabotages Good Teaching. Krumboltz, John. Yeh, Christine. Phi Delta Kappan. 1996.

  • Showcases the negative effects of grading on classroom learning.

Writing to the Rubric: Lingering Effects of Traditional Standardized Testing on Direct Writing Assessment. Mabry, Linda. The Phi Delta Kappan. 1999.

  • Summary of how rubrics undermine the purpose of expression and creative thinking involved in the writing process.

Student Self-Assessment: The Key to Stronger Student Motivation and Higher Achievement. McMillan, James & Hearn, Jessica. educational HORIZONS. 2008.

  • A summary overview of self-assessment and its usage in the classroom, including tendencies toward mastery and reflective thinking. Provides multiple stages of implementation, a lengthy amount of research studies, and highlights the benefits of its usage. Noted are the benefits to intrinsic motivation as a result of taking control of one’s learning.

Failing Grades for Retention. Natriello, Gary. School Superintendents Association. 1998.

  • Demonstrates how there is a negative correlation between low grades and retaining students.

Let's Declare Education a Disaster and Get On with Our Lives.** Smith, Frank. Phi Delta Kappan. 1995.

  • A look at how grading and modern educational practices have disempowered students and educators

Student-Led Conferences: An Alternative Reporting Method.Taylor-Patel, Cherie. The University of Auckland. 2011.

  • An analysis of how successful student-led conferences can be for the development of a child. A specific framework is outlined to acknowledge true success, with warnings detailed on how false or unprepared presentations can decrease learning goals. This is an incredibly in-depth work, we specifically suggest Chapter 4C (Development of Competencies) and Chapter 5 (Beliefs of Parents/Teachers/Students).