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Abstract

The current trend towards globalization, immigration, and internationalization of schools and universities around the world has led to the increased use of grades across educational systems. Given the use of grades for student promotion, mobilization, and admission into educational programs internationally, there is an urgent need to understand how grades are constructed differently in diverse systems of education. This study specifically examines grading policies across two educational contexts – Canada and China – to gain a nuanced understanding of how grades are constructed in these two systems where we see a large fast increase of Chinese students studying at Canadian tertiary institutions. This comparative analysis of Ministry of Education documents within and across these two learning contexts indicates significant differences in policies that guide teacher constructed grades in Canada and China. In Canada, achievement is the primary consideration in the construction of classroom grades, whereas grades in China include considerations of both the learning (i.e., achievement) and the learner (i.e., learning skills and personal dispositions). The findings of the study have significant implications for understanding the validity of grade interpretations across educational systems.

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