Grading Class Participation

Last year I taught an advanced course in psychology using a discussion seminar format. I wanted class participation to count toward students’ grades, but I did not want to give students points just for speaking. I wanted the grades to reflect the quality of their contributions.  My solution was to have students use a rubric to evaluate the quality of their own class participation at the end of each week.

We created the rubric as a class. I had students examine the following three class participation rubrics I found online:

Using these examples as the starting point, the class and I developed our own rubric.

Each week, students explained how many points they thought they deserved on each element of the rubric. Using the students’ explanation and my own recollections of class, I determined the number of points the student actually received.

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