Electronic Theses and Dissertations



Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education



Committee Chair

Edith Gnanadass

Committee Member

Efrain Castellanos

Committee Member

Alison Happel-Parkins

Committee Member

Wendy Griswold


In this naturalistic and formative evaluation, The purpose of the study was to examine and understand how the clinical grading system at Southern College of Optometry (SCO) is being used, whether it is effective as a grading system and in teaching, and how it can be improved to better suit the needs of administration, faculty, and students. I used Experiential Learning Theory to view clinical grading as an opportunity for reflection and investigated whether the grading system was being used for that purpose. I interviewed three administrators and conducted both a faculty and student focus group with six participants each. Through thematic analysis, five themes developed: (1) Faculty expectations develop with experience, are highly personal, and have an impact on learning; (2) Faculty feedback can have a positive or negative impact on student learning; (3) The clinical grading system is used in a variety of ways and for different reasons by the faculty, administrators, and students; (4) Clinical grading is subjective and has challenges that inhibit its effective use; and (5) The clinical grading system continues to evolve and grow to meet the needs of all parties. The current clinical grading system at SCO is partially effective for grading and teaching but has barriers that hamper student reflection. It has a variable impact on shaping student learning and performance based on how it is being used by both faculty and students. The grading system mostly meets the needs of the various stakeholders, but I make recommendations toward process improvement. The recommendations are both specific to SCO and more broadly, to optometric education.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to ProQuest


Open Access