Daily Participation Grades

Written by Diane Sievert
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Daily participation grades are an excellent way to motivate your students to learn. The real beauty of daily participation grades is that they are so open to interpretation on the part of the educator. You get to pinpoint exactly what constitutes the daily participation grades depending on how you want your classroom to run.

Every Educator Should Consider Using Daily Participation Grades

As a middle school teacher, I found daily participation grades to be the single most effective way to shape and enforce behavior guidelines. In my system, I had what I called the daily point. Every student who showed up to class on time, with the necessary class materials (i.e. textbooks, agenda books, pen or pencil, etc.) automatically got a point. The only thing the student could then do was lose that point by breaking a classroom rule (i.e. shouting out instead of raising a hand, goofing around, ignoring classroom instructions, etc.).

I also made of point of recording those daily participation grades right next to the student's attendance record and this turned out to be a god-send in parent conferences. I could simply point to the exact dates that little Johnny or Joanna forgot his or her book, talked through the lesson, spent the entire class period writing a note, etc. With this kind of detailed behavior record, the parent and I spent our time discussing ways to help Johnny or Joanna instead of wasting our time arguing over whether or not the student was in fact behaving.

I did, however, know several top-notch educators who used completely different daily participation grade systems. The only thing they all shared was a common notion that using some form of daily participation grades was a terrific way to effectively manage a classroom. The environment of those classrooms with some sort of specific and clearly articulated participation grade policy were almost always in better order.

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Sympathies for your spelling ailbity Mr E. I'm with you. Not a natural born speller as so many others seem to be. Your PD is fabulous. Also the fact that the work was assessed at the end of the day. The work of your teachers is so varied. Have you done this with kids?