Sunday, June 17, 2012


Self-Evaluation for Participation Grades

But teacher… why did I only get an 85% in participation?

            To start I have heard the arguments against a participation grade. How it hurts those who are shy or have difficult home lives. I understand COMPLETELY the arguments against a participation grade. In some cases I even agree with them, however in my classes now I have one. My classes are partially conversationally and without it students would not be held accountable for their actions. I am a huge fan of students being accountable thus my participation grade stays.
             About 65% of my participation grade is just being polite. Are you on time? Are you present? Do you only speak English in the classroom? Do you refrain from texting? Are you a good listener when your peers speak? Are your bathroom breaks under 20 minutes? Do you avoid asking BEFORE class is over, "Are we done yet?" Are you prepared every day? So even being a shy and introverted student, if you e-mail me a few times or participate in class once or twice and are polite you'll get at LEAST a 70% in participation.
              Students know this. Their participation grade isn't a mysterious 10%. If it were I would have students who thought they had Aced it and are offended when they get less than 100%. I use this worksheet as an easy way to communicate why they got the grade they got, and also as a form of self-evaluation. 
It is interesting to see the different categories students fall into. I like to call them the four Ds
  • Degrading- If they didn’t raise their hand once they’ll change an always to never. They will give themselves an 75% instead of the 95% they deserve.
  • Deficient Mathematicians- These are the students who answer very honestly (yes I talk on my cell phone in class, I’ve missed 5 days, my grade? 95%).
  • Delusional- Teacher I ALWAYS pay attention in… umm.. what class is this again?
  • Dead On- Sometimes you get the kid who just knows what's going on and they get their grade right on the money.
 It is a great way to communicate with each one of these to let them know they are doing great, explain why your math is different, and otherwise respond to them BEFORE the grades go out. 

For ease of access this is a freebie in my Teachers Pay Teachers store (remember you can sign up for free)

I STRONGLY encourage making the participation grade more known and less of a mystery. It doesn't need to be fancy, just keep them informed.

There are other ways to grade participation, this is just the best one for me.


  1. I don't know how other teachers grade their students for participation. I tried once, a month ago, and it was a completely failure ... maybe because there are 40 students in a class.

    1. Most of my classes are 30 students. I was never a fan and used to do the method of, "do I know this child?" if yes because they participate 90%, if they are an essential part of my class: 100% if they disturb my class %70 or lower, 80% for everyone else.

      This way works well because students evaluate themselves which lets me evaluate their evaluations. "Really José you say you are never late? You were late today!"

      But there are other ways that may work better for bigger classes. Check out this post and see if you like any of them better.


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