Expectations for Class Participation

Active participation in discussions will help you remember and assimilate what you learn. It will also help you apply what you have learned to new situations. By sharing your ideas with your peers, you learn to articulate your thoughts and get others to think about and expand on them. Imagine the power that lies in thinking together! In listening to peers, you hear many different ways of interpreting and applying class material which will help you to integrate the information.

Participation is graded on a scale from 0 (lowest) through 4 (highest), using the criteria below. The criteria focus on what you demonstrate and do not presume to guess at what you know but do not demonstrate. This is because what you offer to the class is what you and others learn from. I expect the average level of participation to satisfy the criteria for a "3".

Grade Criteria
0 Absent.
1 Present, not disruptive.
Tries to respond when called on but does not offer much.
Demonstrates very infrequent involvement in discussion.
2 Demonstrates adequate preparation: knows reading facts, but does not show evidence of trying to interpret or analyze them.
Offers straightforward information (e.g., straight from reading), without elaboration or very infrequently (perhaps once a class).
Does not offer to contribute to discussion, but contributes to a moderate degree when called on.
Demonstrates sporadic involvement.
3 Demonstrates good preparation: knows reading facts well, has thought through implications of them.
Offers interpretations and analysis of readings (more than just facts) to class.
Contributes well to discussion in an ongoing way: responds to other students' points, thinks through own points, questions others in a constructive way, offers and supports suggestions that may be counter to the majority opinion.
Demonstrates consistent ongoing involvement.

Demonstrates excellent preparation: exceptional ideas and comments, relating them to readings and other material (e.g., course material, other classes, discussions, experiences, etc.).
Offers analysis, synthesis, and evaluation of readings, e.g., puts together pieces of the discussion to develop new approaches that take the class further.
Contributes in a very significant way to ongoing discussion: keeps analysis focused, responds very thoughtfully to other students' comments, contributes to the cooperative argument-building, suggests alternative ways of approaching material and helps class analyze which approaches are appropriate, etc.
Demonstrates ongoing very active involvement.

(Adapted from Martha L. Maznevski, Grading Class Participation. Teaching Concerns.
A newsletter for Faculty and TAs. Teaching Resource Center, 1996)