When your teacher asks a question in class, how do you respond? Do you eagerly raise your hand, excited to speak up? Or do you sit quietly with your eyes down, hoping you won’t be called on? In some classrooms, the way you react could mean the difference between getting an A or a B.
Teachers who favor grading students based on their participation say that teens who actively take part in class tend to remember more of what they’ve learned. Plus, supporters argue, grading participation helps students learn to interact with other people and to clearly express their ideas and opinions—skills that will benefit them in school and in life.
But other educators say that grading participation gives naturally outgoing students an unfair advantage over those who are shy or come from cultures where speaking up is considered rude. Quiet students may understand the material just as well as (or even better than) their more outspoken classmates. But they could be penalized simply because they don’t feel comfortable sharing what they know in front of the entire class.
Should class participation be graded? Two education experts weigh in.