Grading class participation

Grading class participation makes a clear statement to the students in that class that participation and contribution is highly valued. When that grading is consistent and regular it can encourage students to come to class prepared to participate. It is not, however, without it’s challenges as the teacher has to not only facilitate the class, but also grade the participation. And in-class participation itself can be affected by group size and dynamics, culture, shyness, gender and a myriad of other complications.

Key points

To make grading class participation a successful approach for encouraging participation, be clear about how your students should prepare for the class, the skills, attributes and/or knowledge you want to assess and how you will assess them.

Share these criteria with your students so that they understand the criteria they will be marked against. Do not just reward ‘talking’ but instead consider quality of contribution to discussion.

To support your students to really understand this process, get them to help you design the criteria against which they will be marked. Then support them to provide self- and peer-feedback based on those criteria before using them summatively.