The Observer

Students should not have to participate in class

Students in high schools across the country are graded on their participation in classes.

Creative Commons

Students in high schools across the country are graded on their participation in classes.

By Anna Kronthal, Assistant Opinions Editor

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






“You are expected to participate in class discussions.”

At the beginning of nearly every school year, teachers preach this expectation to students along with the usual mentions of kindness, work ethic and class rules. But, does it really belong on the course syllabus? Should the amount of times a student raises their hand in class have the power to change your grade?

Schools across the country factor student participation into grading with the aim to encourage student involvement in the learning process. However, forcing students to participate does the opposite.

If a student knows the answer to a question and feels comfortable with sharing their answer to a room full of their peers, they will raise their hand. Calling on students involuntarily to speak forces them out of their comfort zone, humiliates them and thus encourages fear of class participation. It leaves students praying their name will not be called on and avoiding eye contact with the teacher. It leaves them hoping that the teacher will choose the classmate with their hand elevated in the air over the student nervously pretending to shuffle through papers. But of course, the teacher will ask for “someone we haven’t heard from yet.” Instead of rewarding the students that volunteer, teachers pick on the ones that don’t.

Whether it be socratic seminars or colored popsicle sticks with the name of each student written out in sharpie, teachers want students to answer questions. They want to check for understanding. They want insight. However, under participation grades, the joy of answering a question right fails to motivate this participation. The threat of lowered grades does the job.

Whether or not a student chooses to raise their hand does not represent their intellect, understanding or progress in a class—what grades are said to be based upon.

For educational systems that use equality for every student as the foundation of their curriculum, making participation grades gives certain students a clear disadvantage. What about the students with social anxiety?

If teachers want to check for general understanding of a topic, they can give out a quiz. If teachers want to call on students for answers, they can ask the students that have their hands raised. If teachers need another grade for the gradebook so desperately that they will force participation, they can just give out a graded worksheet.

Every reason for issuing participation grades has an alternative option that will not induce fear in students. Grades and the extent of one’s participation in class should not be correlated. Participation grades are unfair, unnecessary, and redundant.

 

About the Writer
Anna Kronthal, Assistant Opinions Editor

Class of 2020

Class of 2020 Anna Kronthal is an Assistant Opinions Editor alongside Miranda Chung. She spends her free time dancing at the Washington...

Leave a Comment




Navigate Left
  • Students should not have to participate in class

    Online Exclusives

    Increase in use of earbuds is detrimental to students

  • Students should not have to participate in class

    Local

    New automated flaggers boost road safety

  • Students should not have to participate in class

    News

    CHS student wins prestigious Russian award

  • Students should not have to participate in class

    Online Exclusives

    CHS students do not hear concerns about earbud usage

  • Students should not have to participate in class

    Online Exclusives

    Metal detectors have a place in CHS

  • Local

    MCPS considers extending spring break

  • Students should not have to participate in class

    Online Exclusives

    New CHS athlete commitments make CHS proud

  • Students should not have to participate in class

    News

    Pipe burst floods CHS with problems

  • Students should not have to participate in class

    News

    CHS students rally to create breast cancer walk

  • Online Exclusives

    March Madness

Navigate Right
The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.
Students should not have to participate in class