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Table 5 Reasons why Iranian EFL teachers used nonacademic factors in grading (N = 30)

From: A study of EFL teachers’ classroom grading practices in secondary schools and private institutes: a mixed methods approach

Theme and subtheme Example quote Frequency (%)
Encouraging learning “Those students who participate more and try harder also learn better and more.” 29.5
 Inseparability of achievement and enablers “I guess it is wrong to think of enablers and achievement as separate entities because they feed on each other.”  
 Grades as payment for student work “In my opinion, a school is like a factory. Therefore, students should get paid for good work and punished for bad work. We [teachers] pay them grades.”  
Enhancing motivation “Look, when the student knows that his/her efforts, abilities, or even class attendance are seen and counted by the teacher, definitely he/she will have more motivation to learn.” 23.0
 Providing students with feedback “In my idea, opening a discussion with a student about their grades and what they do in class that leads to those grades is the best way to let them know what their strengths and weaknesses are. Otherwise, they might not care that much what you say.”  
Lack of specific grading criteria “Until now no one has given me any specific standards to base my grades on, maybe very generally.” 16.4
Pressure from stakeholders “Many people, if not all, believe that their children should get better grades when they try more and are active. They drive you crazy if your grade doesn’t reflect this.” 16.0
 Parents “I am afraid of parents who come and talk to me about their son or daughter who failed even though he/she tried hard. They give me a lot of stress. They expect their children to be passed.”  
 Students “Students who regularly attend class or do their homework neatly expect to pass the course . . . no matter if they didn’t learn well.”  
 School/institute administrators “On several occasions the school principal has come to me saying: ‘If possible, let this student pass because he has good manners or is very neat.’”  
Flexible grading “A teacher should not be strict in giving grades on achievement only. We live in a complex world. What are our grades supposed to change?” 15.1
Everything counts in grading “I think many factors make a grade, not just one and the teacher has the responsibility to take as many factors into account to be fair.”  
 Weakness compensation grading “Considering ability, effort, or good behavior in grades can benefit those who perform poorly, but shouldn’t fail.”