Saturday 2 April 2016

Allow Your Students to Give Themselves Participation Points

In 2012, I wrote a post about having students grade themselves and I still stand by that post today. I don't think it's fair for a teacher to judge how much effort a student puts forth. After all, you could get a student who's lived abroad and speaks English fluently, so English is easy for them. Or you could have a shy student who isn't comfortable talking in front of the class.

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I used to have students grade themselves at the end of the semester, but found that it was hard for them to remember what they did on a daily basis. Now I have them grade themselves at the end of each class. Below you can find what I do. Here's another rubric a teacher uses. It discusses participation, collegiality, and conduct. Some teachers downright refuse to grade participation. Here are their reasons why.

The first day of class I give them all a note card. They write their name, school ID, and class ID at the top. On the front there are two sections: Active and L1. On the back there are also two sections: Phone and Materials.

The first section is worth 3 points each. If they're active in class they can get up to 3 points. If they use their L1, they can lose up to 3 points. The back is worth 1 point each. If they didn't use their phone for texting or social media they can get 1 point. If they didn't bring their materials (pen, book, A4 paper), then they can lose 1 point. If they're absent, even if their absence is excused, they get no points for that day.

At the end of the semester, they add up all the points and subtract the points they lost. I then grade them on a curve and give participation points out in increments of 5. The top people get 25%. The bottom people get 5%. I don't usually give 0% for participation unless they never showed up or slept in every class. I've found this works as you have proof of their participation, makes grading easier, and students are becoming responsible for their grades. It's also much better to do this daily as they are more likely to tell the truth.


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