Grading System in Higher Education During The COVID-19 Pandemic
An important note:
The assignment instructions is quite simple, the objective is to talk about an issue and
outline two theoretical approaches to understand the issue better. Another objective as well is to
talk about the theories in depth, so I don’t expect you and it is a big NO for you to add more
theories out of nowhere or sources in Theory A, Theory B, and Argument of Preference sections.
You will just fail the course! Also please pay attention to whatever you’re writing, don’t make
statements or assumptions, everything you present have to be based on theories! I will provide you
the theories you can use so you must read them in depth in order to be able to write in depth.
The only time you can source from other sources of your preference apart from what I’ve given is for
the introduction and issue part (I expect you to add more sources of news and or sources if
necessary). Please read all of the materials I attached, you wouldn’t be able to go in depth if you
don’t read them all, take your time please.
Please read everything below before you start to comprehend the outcome and expectation! Also
pay more attention to the bold and red sentences.
The assessment for this course will consist of a critical essay of 4,000-4,500 words
(maximum) addressing the following task:
Choose a contemporary educational issue that interests you and explain why it matters with
reference to social justice and equity models and principles. Draw on both primary and
secondary sources to outline two theoretical approaches from the course that could
contribute to a deeper understanding of this issue. Explain how each theory’s concepts and
arguments might relate to your issue. From this analysis, build an argument for why one
approach offers more explanatory power for this particular issue.
This assessment task is designed to walk you through the phases involved in theoretical work
behind any good piece of educational research or scholarship. This kind of thinking might
help in your dissertation as well.
We can break this assignment into three steps:
• Step 1 Choose a contemporary educational issue that interests you and explain why it
matters with reference to social justice and equity models and principles.
• Step 2 Draw on both primary and secondary sources to outline two theoretical
approaches from the course that could contribute to a deeper understanding of this
issue. Explain how each theory’s concepts and arguments might relate to your issue.
• Step 3 From this analysis, build an argument for why one approach offers more
explanatory power for this particular issue.
It will help to structure your paper into these sections, using headings and sub-headings and
paragraphing to organise clear purposeful steps in your argument.
Here’s some guidance for each step: Step 1: Choose a contemporary educational issue that
interests you, and explain why it matters with reference to social justice and equity models
and principles. Think about educational questions or problems that intrigue or worry you.
Choose an issue that involves some dimension or problem of social justice and equity. Social
justice and equity were presented in the first lecture as the core values and ever-present theme
that cut across all other theoretical themes in educational theory. However, don’t forget that
the topic of social justice and equity has its own theoretical debates, and competing models.
Any thinking in educational research will need to consider social justice and equity and
reflect on how to theorise these values as necessary context for this first step.
In your paper be sure to briefly outline your particular issue of interest, how social justice and
equity are implicated, then explain or justify why both your problem matters in the field of
“So, for this assignment I am interested in the grading system in higher
education during the COVID-19 pandemic and whether now would be the time
to implement a pass/fail assessment. This is social justice and equity problem
because not only today’s grading system creates a border to the access to
employment; it also creates competition, stress, and loss of innocence. These
outcomes are not likely in line with the purpose of education in general. What I
have in mind is to find out about these questions; Can we really expect to grade
people under the current conditions, and if, not is it appropriate to move more generally
to pass/fail in HE? Surely if all have met the entry requirements, a further grade is not
necessary? Or is it, does it reflect hard work and ability?”
Step 2: Draw on both primary and secondary sources to outline two theoretical approaches
from the course that could contribute to a deeper understanding of this issue. Explain how
each theory’s concepts and arguments might relate to your issue.
Select two or more theoretical approaches that have been introduced in the course under the
same theme. Use the recommended course readings to get started, before branching out.
Remember, it’s not how many references you include, but how deeply you understand the
theory. The word count does not include your references for this assignment.
It is important that you include both PRIMARY sources and SECONDARY sources:
• Primary sources (the primary texts) are the original texts by the theorists we have
studied, such as Bourdieu, Nussbaum, Durkheim, Marx, Foucault, and Ball. These can
be difficult but it is important at Masters level that you start to work with primary
• Secondary sources are other authors writing about the theories of Bourdieu,
Nussbaum, Durkheim, Marx, Foucault, Ball and so on. Importantly, secondary
authors may also use theory from the primary authors and apply this theory to
questions and issues in education. You can learn a lot from this because secondary
authors often explain the theory (the primary text) in a helpful way.
Summarise your understanding of Theory 1, in terms of its key concepts, how these relate to
each other, and how they relate to your issue. Synthesise what you’ve learnt from both the
primary and secondary texts you read.
Then do the same for Theory 2.
Make sure that you carefully define each theoretical concept and explain how the concepts
connect to build the theory. Step 1 and 2 will be graded in relation to Intended Learning
Outcome, 1 and 2. 1. Demonstrates understanding of the selected approaches in relation to
the selected theme. 2. Draws on both primary and secondary literature productively.
Step 3: From this analysis, build an argument for why one approach offers more explanatory
power for this issue.
Having outlined and explained two or more theoretical approaches that help you understand
your issue in the preceding section, the final section of the paper asks you to make an
argument for selecting one approach, your preference, based on what is described as
‘explanatory power.’ In other words, you need to compare/contrast how the theories help
explain your problem, then argue why one theoretical approach offers a better, more
insightful or more valuable explanation.
Step 3 will be graded in relation to ILO 3 and 4: 3: Critically differentiates the selected
approaches from each other, in terms of their relative strengths and weaknesses. 4: Presents a
cogent, well-structured and scholarly argument, to articulate and defend a preference.
OUTLINE EXAMPLE (PLEASE READ, THERE ARE INSTRUCTIONS AHEAD)
The following outline is a suggested structure to help you break the task down, and
to make sure the paper gives adequate attention to demonstrating understanding
of the theory, applying each theory to your problem, then considering which
theory is most powerful:
This news looks interesting for introduction and to talk about the introduction and the issue, you are
also free to add other reliable source of news on this
You are free to formulate your introductions and issues so it would be making sense when you relate
it later to the theories and arguments sections.
Introduction: (about 100 words)
-overview and outline
The issue: (about 400 words)
-what educational issue are you interested in?
-why is it a problem?
-how is it related to social justice and equity?
-which model of social justice and equity is relevant?
Theory A: Meritocracy grouped with Biesta Approach for theory A (Please use the primary and
secondary sources I attached in the order)
Theory of … Primary sources … starting point Secondary sources … starting point
Social justice and
Rawls, J. (1971/ 1999). A theory of justice
(Revised ed.). Cambridge, MA:
Harvard University Press.
(perhaps concentrate on pages 3-
Fraser, N. (2005). Reframing justice in a
globalizing world. New Left Review, 36,
Gewirtz, S. (1998). Conceptualizing social
justice in education: Mapping
the territory. Journal of
Education Policy, 13(4), 469-484.
Keddie, A. (2012). Schooling and social
justice through the lenses of
Nancy Fraser. Critical Studies in
Education, 53(3), 263-279.
Theory of … Primary sources … starting point Secondary sources … starting point
Good education in an age of measurement:
on the need to reconnect with the question
of purpose in education – Gert Biesta 2009-
Biesta, G. ((2013) Giving teaching back to
education: responding to the
disappearance of the teacher.
Phenomenology & Pratitce, 6(2), 35-49.
Winter, P. (2011). Coming into the
world, uniqueness, and the beautiful
risk of education: An interview with
Gert Biesta. In G. Biesta (Ed.), Making
sense of education (pp. 109-114).
Young and others
Young, M. (1994). Looking back on
Meritocracy. Political Quarterly,
77(1 ), 73-77
Young, M. D. (1958). The rise of the
Penguin. (I know this one quite a
lot to read, but this is vital for u
to understand, tips :read the
content list, skim through and
find what you need!)
The Meritocracy Myth – Stephen J.
Gilborn, D., & Youdell, D. (2001). The
new IQism: intelligence,
‘ability’ and the rationing of
education. In J. Demaine
(Ed.), Sociology of education
today. Basingstoke: Palgrave.
(I found the similar and
newer article by him talking
about this topic, the file
name is GILBORN 2010
Mijs, J. (2016). The unfulfillable
promise of meritocracy:
Three lessons and their
implications for justice in
-outline the theory, define key concepts, explain how they work together (1000
-apply the theory to your problem, show how it helps to explain the problem (400
Bourdieu’s social reproduction approach (primary and secondary sources attached in the order
and linked above)
On the side note, you also consider the purpose of Higher Education.pdf (also attached) in
addition to this theory (social, cultural, economic, does grading narrow it these around the
education. Social Justice
Research, 29, 14-34.
Sen, A. (2000). Merit and justice. In K.
Arrow, S. Bowles & S.
Durlauf (Eds.), Meritocracy
and economic inequality (pp.
5-16). Princeton, New Jersey:
Princeton University Press.
cultural capital and
role of education in
Handbook of theory and research for
the sociology of education – John G.
Richardson 1986 See: Bourdieu, P.
(1986). The forms of capital, pp. 241-
Reproduction in education, society
and culture – Pierre Bourdieu, JeanClaude Passeron 1990.
Pierre Bourdieu: key concepts – Michael
English, F., & Bolton, C. (2016).
Bourdieu for educators: policy
and practice.v Los Angeles:
SAGE. (This book is not
available for download but
you can access it through
ebookcentral or SAGE,
wondering if you can manage
to get an access to this
James, D. (2015). How Bourdieu bites
misrecognition in education
and educational research.
Cambridge Journal of
Education, 45(1), 97-112.
-outline the theory, define key concepts, explain how they work together (1000 words) —
-apply the theory to your problem, show how it helps to explain the problem (400 words)
Argument for preference:
compare and contrast the two theories and how useful they are for understanding
your problem, then why you think one is more valuable than the other (1000
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