Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Curriculum & Instruction

First Committee Member

Liz Spalding

Second Committee Member

Marilyn McKinney

Third Committee Member

Christine Clark

Fourth Committee Member

Lori Olafson

Number of Pages



Due to the complex nature of assessment in critical pedagogy practices, continued research is necessary in order to investigate the constantly evolving nature of education and the way we come to know how people learn. To research assessment in the critical classroom requires both instructor and students. This qualitative multiple case study investigated impacts of a grading contract as a form of assessment on student writing in a Basic Writing composition course. This study examined the impacts of a grade contract on students' writing, motivation for writing, revision practices, authorship and expectations of a Basic Writing composition course. Through a critical pedagogy framework, this study also investigated the power relations of common standards of grading through the process of negotiation. Data sources included student essays, interviews, reflection letters, and online negotiation dialogue. Results from this study suggests that by using a grade contract, students demonstrated higher levels of revision practices as well as levels of frequency. Furthermore, the results indicated that students perceived an increase in motivation as well as an increased sense of authorship. By engaging in a negotiation protocol, students perceived a higher level of control over their learning and role in the course. Based on the analysis, a sample model of employing a grade contract in a Basic Writing course using a negotiation protocol developed. This study has implications for using a grade contract model as a form of assessment in college composition courses or writing intensive courses as a way to increase motivation for writing and revision practices as a way to improve writing level.


Assessment; Basic writing; Composition; Contract; Critical pedagogy; Grades; Grading and marking (Students); Learning contracts; Rhetoric – Study and teaching (Higher)


Curriculum and Instruction | Education | Education Policy | Liberal Studies | Rhetoric

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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