Question Detail

Do you grade participation?

Jan 17, 2013 2:26pm

We've debated participation and engagement at my school. But we do not have a working definition. How have you defined participation and do you grade it? How? Do you have a rubric that moves beyond tally marks for speaking? Ironically, I just saw a Gallup study about this topic too.

  • Other
  • 9-12
  • Engagement


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    • Jan 19, 2013 1:56pm

      Howdy Rob,
      I would be extremely cautious of trying to place a grade next to a student's level of participation and engagement. Grading academic performance has already been shown to be a subjective process, so trying to combine standard grading procedures with participation and engagement may make it even more difficult.

      My questions for you are...
      1. Why do you feel the need to grade participation and engagement?

      2. What do you hope to gain from assigning a grade?

      3. How can you foster, monitor, and encourage student participant and engagement so it becomes a part of your classroom culture?

      4. Could it be a possibility that the students low level of participation & engagement may be an indication of a struggling learning environment, curriculum, and/or instructional issues?

      It is very exciting to see you all are thinking and reflecting about the importance of participation and engagement on your campus. Your students are lucky.

      • Jan 19, 2013 2:18pm

        Jose, I am in the minority of teachers at my school that insist that grading participation and engagement is problematic. I am in complete agreement that grading is already subjective.

        The argument that my colleagues have stressed is that we grade students on their reading, writing, analysis, and other skills. Why wouldn't we grade them of their discussion skills? If we grade their use of evidence and analysis in an essay, why wouldn't we also grade their analysis in a discussion? They are of the opinion that discussion skills are teachable and therefore something that can be assessed. And I must admit, those are great points. I've recently read the book Quiet by Susan Cain and I am reluctant to grade participation and engagement because I understand that some of my students are introverts. However, if my school is moving in this direction, I'd like to make sure that the grading is a science and not an art. Thank you for your thoughts and feedback.

        • Jan 27, 2013 9:19am

          Jim, I am really sorry I referred to you as Jose. I have a teaching friend name Jose Gonzales.

          • Jan 27, 2013 9:39am

            No problem Rob, Jose is a cool name too. For a new to profession teacher (my assumption), it's great to see someone thinking and reflecting deeply about their practice.

            Great stuff.

            • Jan 27, 2013 9:54am

              Jim, this is year 13 for me in education. I've worn a number of hats. But, I will always consider myself a novice and hopefully continue to reflect n my practice. What about you?

              • Jan 29, 2013 2:27pm

                Hi Rob,
                I think it is important for students to what is expected in terms of participation and engagement. To Chris's point, asking students what "good" participation looks like in discussion (looks like/sounds like) can be helpful for students.

                • Feb 2, 2013 4:16pm

                  This is my eleventh year in education...