I have lots of reservations about rank-order grading, but found this interesting:
This paper reports results from a unique classroom experiment that explored the potential of using rank-order grading to improve student performance and learning. Findings suggest that student performance is significantly improved when facing a grading system based on student ranking (norm-reference grading) rather than performance standards (criterion-reference grading). The improved outcomes from rank-order grading largely arise among the high performers, but not at the expense of low performers. Results indicate rank-ordering may eliminate the incentive for high performing students to “stop” once they achieve a stated objective, while not diminishing the incentive for lower performing students.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t really address the students (upper lower/middle) that we are struggling to reach, so it’s a non-starter. It’s a nicely designed, high-quality study though.
Looking into contract grading tomorrow.