Many teachers now devote a portion of their students’ final grades to a participation mark. Here’s a way to make participation grades actually encourage participation, while making the task of calculating those marks an easier job.
Instead of waiting until the end of term to calculate your students’ participation grades, keep a running record of their contributions, and give out (or post) interim participation grades every two weeks. This has a number of benefits. Significantly, it gives students an accurate picture of how you see their in-class contributions. A poor interim participation mark can motivate quiet students to start taking part in class discussions and activities. In addition, by keeping track of students’ participation throughout the term and giving out grades so often, your task at the end of the term is a no-brainer. No longer do you have to try to remember how much a student participated in classes that took place months earlier. This takes what can feel like an overly subjective process and make it much more straightforward.