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    Grading Class Participation

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    Please help write a one-page summary of the Bean and Peterson assigned reading, "Grading Class Participation." This summary should clearly and concisely identify the main point or argument of the reading along with important supporting details.

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    Grading Class Participation - A Summary

    Modern day educational programs expect more out of students than simply performing well on homework, various forms of assessment, and exams. For students to adequately demonstrate that they have mastered certain core competencies, and to show that they can interact with others in a corporate and team setting, it is essential that they also be measured in terms of their classroom participation. In this regard, since participation itself is often subjective in scope, it is difficult to determine the extent to which an individual is involved in classroom activities and learning. As such, it it essential to develop a rubric for use in any given class that allows the student to understands what is expected of him or her, and for the teachers to be able to precisely judge the score that should be granted in this area. One of most commonly used assessments to measure classroom participation is adapted from the assigned article 'Grading Classroom Participation" by Bean and Peterson.
    Bean and Person propose a point system for measuring participation in the classroom. Each strata, our level of points, has certain core components that must be present in order to a student to earn that number of points. A score of '10', for example, would require that a student come to class prepared and that they are able and ready to contribute to the classroom conversation. This does not mean, however, that they must dominate the discussion, nor does it even mean that they necessarily say anything. They simply need to be ready, as measured by the teachers. This is important because it is not reasonable to expect everyone in the classroom to be able to contribute equally to a classroom discussion, particularly in large classes, especially given time constraints. So, as Bean and Peterson point out, this is important to keep in mind. In addition, to earn the maximum number of participation points, students should be able to make substantive comments about the material covered in class, and be able to invoke their own insight when asked to do so. At the same time, they should demonstrate an interest in the comments others, show respect for others in the class, and participate to the best of their ability and fully in all group activities.
    Students not performing at the top level, but still showing solid signs of participation, would earn the next highest level of available points for that class session. To do this, students should still come to class prepared, and they must be able to make thoughtful comments about the discuss when they are called upon to do so. Bean and Peterson note in their article that such students only occasionally contribute to the classroom discussion, but they do show an interest in what others are saying and they actively in small group activities. They key distinction here, as opposed to the highest level of participation evident in class, is that the students in this category participate at a lower level in class discussions when compared to those earning top marks.
    Students who participate in the discussion, but not in a substantive manner, and often in a problematic manner, will earn only half of the points available for participation. These students, according to the article by Bean and Peterson (1998), tend to talk too much, ramble on about inconsequential martial, and tend to interrupt the teacher and other students. They also do not receive correction well and tend to not notice that they annoying others in the class, including the teacher. Even though they are potentially causing problems in the class, it is still important that the teacher rewards them with some points in order to encourage them to improve. It would also be beneficial to inform the student (directly - not in front of the class) as to the reasons why they were only half of the available participation points and what they can do to improve upon that score in the future.
    There are two further categories of participation mentioned in this article as well. Students who come to class but barely, on minimally, participate in the activities in class would receive only about 1/3 of the points available for participation. Students would receive no points if they are obviously not prepared for class, nor do the contribute to any form of classroom discussion. These students also tend to display disrespect to students and teachers.
    In summary, this article demonstrates the importance of incorporating classroom participation as an assessment activity within the scope of the instructional period. Students need to be encouraged to be actively engaged in the educational process. As they contribute to classroom discussions, a scholarly exchange of ideas often occurs that benefits everyone involved in the academic environment. 
    Bean, J. C. and Peterson, D. (1998). Grading classroom participation. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 74, 33-40.

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