Grades May Reflect More Than Performance: Comment on Wentzel (1989)

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Wentzel (1989) presented correlational data showing how different goals held by students related to classroom grades and standardized achievement test scores. Even when they had similar Scholastic Aptitude Test scores, students who conformed less to the normative standards of the classroom received lower grades. Wentzel interpreted this pattern as indicating lower competence and performance among the students receiving lower grades. Wentzel concluded that classroom interventions designed to increase students' performance should focus on improving students' classroom behavior. This comment challenges both conclusions: (a) Nonconforming students may receive lower grades, not because their in-class performance is deficient, but because teachers' biases lead to lower evaluations; and (b) Increasing students' conformity to classroom standards may not be worth hidden costs, such as undermining students' independence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)153-155
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Educational Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1991

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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