Exploring the Factors Iranian EFL Institute Teachers Consider in Grading Using Personal Construct Theory

Document Type: Research Paper


1 Department of English language, Faculty of Foreign Languages, Arak University, Arak, Iran

2 Department of English Language, Faculty of Foreign Languages, Arak University, Arak, Iran



Although grades are the most ubiquitous currency of educational measurement around the globe, their meaning, particularly in understudied settings as in Iran, is still shrouded in mystery. The purpose of this study was to investigate EFL teachers’ class grades by focusing on the less verbalized aspects of grading to see what a grade means. Five Iranian English language teachers working part-time in a private EFL institute were interviewed using the repertory grid interviewing technique, Kelly’s (1955) unique data collection instrument used extensively in personal construct theory (PCT). The results of the content analysis revealed that of the 92 elicited constructs, over 70% were categorized as non-academic, pointing to a heavy reliance on such criteria for grading, and consequently leading to the invalidity of assigned grades. Further, the results of principal component analysis (PCA) of each teacher’s elicited constructs endorsed hodgepodge grading by demonstrating single main components that accounted for the most variation in teacher grading and that comprised both academic and non-academic factors. However, this phenomenon was interpreted slightly differently when seen from the PCT perspective. Implications of this study for teacher professional development and teacher education programs are discussed.