Students have the ability to choose whether to participate or not. Photo by John Le.
Fountain Valley High School

Graded participation: A way to demote or promote student participation?

The benefits of grading participation

As part of the curricular, participation should count as part of a student’s grade. However, it should be graded to some extent, so that their grades don’t depend on the participation itself.

Many teachers, generally English and language teachers, determine participation necessary in order to improve in the language and they count participation in their grades. This makes sense because it helps improve students’ communication skills and confidence by speaking in front of others.

For languages, the goal of the classes is to help students’ reach fluency in the language. Speaking aloud more during class results in a more proficient student.

There are also Expected Schoolwide Learning Results (ESLR) and the first one listed is to be an effective communicator. An effective communicator can’t be made if a student is sulking into their seat having no involvement in the class itself.

Participation should be accepted as various ways, not just answering questions. It should be rewarded by asking sensible questions or helping to explain a concept to a classmate.

If a student is shy, now is the perfect time to practice it. In the future, many jobs seek workers who are able to communicate proficiently with others and have effective teamwork. Making participation count as part of the grade can positively affect many of the students’ futures.

For the most part, students are more motivated to complete assignments if are graded. With the same concept, students are more likely to participate if participation is counted as a grade. It encourages students that care about their grades, but not prefer to participate, to get more involved.

An argument against this is that participating in class can make students uncomfortable. However, many things in life will make someone uncomfortable. If students aren’t doing something because they aren’t used to it, at what point will they stop trying new things? Students should keep on participating in order to accustom to it.

Participation should be considered as part of a student’s’ grade in order to encourage students to be more active in the classroom.

–Elise Tran

The downfalls of graded participation

In schools today, we have teachers who grade participation, and some who don’t.

Participation does have good morals for a student, as it increases their communication and speaking skills. However, participation should not have to be graded for a class.

The idea of participation is incorporated into many English and language classes. Their purpose for participation is to improve their speaking skills and confidence, but it is a student’s own choice whether or not they want to participate.

Participation in a class really depends on a student. Every student has their own way of learning, and their own personalities to reflect themselves to others. If we were to push the boundaries of a shy student just for them to earn points for a grade, there will be a significant struggle for them to speak up in class. This leaves an unfair advantage for different students.

Many students feel that the only reason they participate is for the grade. Participation grades can reach up to 100 points, which is a very large grade to most. Students feel as if they are to be “forced” to participate, rather than doing it to improve their learning. The choices for learning concepts can’t just be from participation alone, as they can study on their own and have other vast choices.

Although participation comes in many forms, many teachers count participation as reading in class or answering a question. Due to this bias towards these options, students don’t really have a chance to get participation points if they do other activities that count as “participation.”

The main argument for this is that participation in the classroom can help students become a better communicator in the real world. However, there are many other opportunities that are more realistic towards helping a student. For example, working at a store or joining leadership activities outside of school can help students become an active communicator.

Participation has its benefits, it also comes with its downfalls. Having it being graded in class is not a great idea; it is better for a student to choose whether or not to participate, and certainly not for a grade.

–John Le