Evaluating Participation in the Classroom

Participation is such an integral part of my classroom. My students learn by doing. But what do teachers mean when they require active participation? What does exemplary participation look like and do teachers articulate this to students clearly?

A number of years ago I was teaching a middle school drama class and one of the students who sat quietly in the back all year long, not an active participant in class, broke down in tears when she did not earn an A for the marking period. A meeting was called by her parents, myself, and the principal to address why this student, who was an A student in all her other classes, did not earn an A in Drama. Her parents told me that she should not be penalized for being shy and since she was not a disruptive student she should earn a higher grade.

It was after this meeting that I decided I needed to articulate to my students (and parents) what is expected and what I define by active participation. Is active participation about answering the teachers questions? Or is there more involved such as attitude and behavior? After a number of years of editing and trying out different rubrics, I have come to trust the latest version I created which I have shared below.

Please share your own versions of participation rubrics or feel free to offer some suggestions how I can improve upon my own.

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