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Participation should not be valid grading criteria

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Written by: Leon Cheong

The classroom is often considered a place where students can interact and experience “hands-on” learning. Indubitably, participation in class is vital to an enriching education. However, participation should not be considered a substantial grading category, because it brings an unnecessary addition of hazy, subjective grading and discredits intrapersonal learners who are more reserved in education.

It’s no coincidence that those who are enthusiastic about their studies consistently boost their grade point averages (GPA). However, there are some who exploit grading factors that involve scoring subjectively, especially participation. According to B.G. Davis, the author of “Tools for Teaching,”  survey done in Seattle showed that the majority of teachers use participation as a “fudge factor;” in other words, grading based on impressionism to augment the grades of students they prefer. However, participation entails showing an effort and interest in the class material. Grades are supposed to be a measure of capability of being able to project an individual understanding of a subject in a classroom environment. Teachers should try to eliminate as much subjectivism in the classroom as possible.

Participation also puts students who exceed intrapersonally at a disadvantage. When students are required to involve themselves against their will, they condition themselves to feign interest. The students who may not have the most intelligible things to say but have the confidence to say it water down classroom discussion, ceasing engagement in classroom banter for the pure purpose of enjoying it. According to Susan Cain, the author who spoke at TED 2012 for her book “Quiet: The Power of Introverts,” nowadays teachers fail to understand that high schoolers are still developing their emotional selves. She says that high school is full of reserved introverts who should not have their chances to express their creativity and intelligence stifled by the implementation of a faulty grading scale. In other words, teachers ought to allow more room for students to promote their own learning capabilities to fulfill a collective diversity of both extroverts and introverts in the classroom.

This is only an idealistic view of participation. The very nature of how participation is applied to grading makes it improbable that a teacher would truly grade on participation alone. Of course, the importance of participation eliminates the option of removing it altogether. Instead, students should face the problem by making a genuine effort to get involved in their class activities.


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Participation should not be valid grading criteria