Date of Award

Spring 5-2024

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Keith Howard

Second Advisor

Douglas D. Havard

Third Advisor

Mark Maier


This study aimed to extend the research on fairness in classroom assessment by examining undergraduates’ fairness perceptions of and their emotional and behavioral responses to college classroom settings in relation to personal justice beliefs and fairness dimensions at a private university in China. Organizational justice theory offered the theoretical framework for identifying major factors influencing students’ general fairness perceptions and their emotional and behavioral consequences for learning. The research employed a survey-based quantitative approach through a correlational design to show associations among fairness-related variables in hierarchical multiple regression analyses. Adopting a translated and culturally adapted fairness survey of classroom assessment, this study collected 2,242 valid student data for detailed analysis. The findings of the study revealed male and female students differed in fairness judgments, while high personal belief in a just world led to high global fairness perceptions of classroom assessment. Further, three major justice dimensions all contributed to the prediction of fairness-relevant models to varying degrees: (a) interactional justice was most influential in the formation of general fairness perceptions and the elicitation of positive behavioral responses for learning, (b) distributive justice was most predictive of students’ feelings while playing a role across all fairness models and slightly moderating the impact of procedural justice on emotional and behavioral reactions, and (c) procedural justice was not so prominent as the aforementioned justice types, but it did affect fairness judgments. From a sociocultural perspective, the core values of benevolence and meritocracy in Confucianism could better explain Chinese students’ reliance on interactional and distributive justice for classroom-based fairness evaluations. Overall, the results aligned with or deviating from previous literature on fair classroom assessments afford valuable insights into the reconsideration of fairness beliefs, code of behavior, and relevant practices in the Chinese context. Additionally, the study provides practical implications for Chinese instructors, university leadership, and policymakers to move toward a fairer assessment environment while indicating future research directions in sampling, methodology, and potential fairness variables of interest for refining the empirical research.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Available for download on Thursday, May 07, 2026

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