Pass/Fail and Discretionary Grading: A Snapshot of Their Influences on Learning
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This article provides a snapshot of pass/fail and discretionary grading approaches, highlighting the advantages and disadvantages of each. Normreferenced and criterion-referenced grading practices and their associations with learning are identified. A brief historical backdrop illustrates how grading practices have evolved. The inherent subjectivity of grading is emphasized. Pass/fail grading supports intrinsic motivation and self-direction, but limits opportunities for recognizing excelling students. Discretionary grading, which includes letter (F− to A+) and numeric (0% to 100%) representations, supports extrinsic motivation and self-improvement, but promotes unhealthy competition. Both approaches have merit and can effectively measure student achievement in nursing education programs.