Posted by Dennis » 1 Comment »
ProfHacker has recently discussed grading participation, so I thought I’d share my take.
I’ve made a change this marking period to place greater emphasis on the role of personal responsibility and genuine effort among students. In the past I’ve recorded weekly participation grades by points (e.g., one point per day, so five per week, with points lost for lack of effort or disruptive behavior). At other times I’ve given checks, check pluses, and check minuses, or complete vs. incomplete.
Now I give whole letter grades (no pluses or minuses) on a weekly basis by the following criteria:
A: You make positive contributions.
B: You’re consistently, noticeably participating.
C: I don’t notice you.
D: You’re consistently, noticeably off task.
F: You negatively affect the learning environment.
I can foresee some criticism (for example, of the basis for the C), but this is a rough guideline for an entirely subjective sort of grade. For this sort of grade, students have to learn that it’s up to them to make sure they’re leaving an impression, and that it’s the right kind of impression. They need to know, too, that they affect others, and that it matters how.
The letter grade is much clearer to students and to parents, and so far it has had a positive impact. Somehow an F means more than a 0.