Should participation count towards students’ grades?

Should participation be the only way to grade students?

Photo courtesy of Faculty Focus

Should participation be the only way to grade students?

Priscilla Kim, Photojournalist

There has always been controversy about how teacher’s grade their students whether that be participation, effort, test scores, etc. However, the most talked about is participation because students either are for it or against it. Ultimately, in most student’s cases they prefer a balance between participation and effort instead of a grading solely based on one or the other.

Grades should be based on not only participation but effort as well, because it motivates students to work harder, it gives students equal opportunities, and it does not cause as much stress for students. Grading should be based on effort because it encourages students to work for the grade they want. By giving grades based on effort, students will be more inclined to put their full participation into the class because they know that their grade will reflect how much effort they put into an assignment. Oftentimes, students put little effort into their classwork because they know it is simply being graded on completion, rather than effort. So if they were to be graded based on the effort they put in, they would be more encouraged to work harder and spend time doing well in the class because their grade depends on it. 

Furthermore, grading should be based on effort because it provides students with equal opportunities to excel in the classroom. If grading was solely based on performance, then there would be no chance for slower learners or students with lower grades to improve their grades. Grading based on effort, however, would increase the chances for students to better their grades. Additionally, every single student has different strengths and weaknesses, so it is only fair to offer them something that can benefit everyone.

 Moreover, students would be a lot less stressed if part of the grading system was based on effort. Tons and tons of students are constantly stressing for exams, tests, quizzes, etc., which are all based on performance, and the truth is not everyone is going to do as well as the smartest person in the class. This continuous stress only builds up overtime, but if grading were based on effort it would eliminate a significant amount of stress over students since they can simply do the best they can. Although it may sound cliche, when effort plays a factor in a student’s grades they will be more encouraged to earn their grade without as much stress. 

  When asked whether they should be graded on participation or effort, Eliana Shim (12) stated that, “there should be a healthy balance of both factors because sometimes students in class are too shy or anxious to participate but that does not necessarily mean they don’t understand what is going on in the class. Grading based on effort will allow them and give them a chance to show they understand what is being taught in class.” 

Overall, a combination of effort and participation would ultimately be great factors to implement in the grading system because it shows that a student is actively trying with determination and intent. Not only will grading based on effort prompt students to work harder, but it will also offer flexibility for students to earn the grade they want to and eliminate a remarkable amount of stress.