contributed by: Leah Childers
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This is a participation rubric used throughout the semester to collect participation data as well as facilitate discussion between the student and instructor about the course.

Class information

I’ve used participation self-assessment rubrics in two different class at Benedictine College, a small Catholic liberal arts college: Mathematics for the Elementary School Teacher 1 and 2. Both courses are math content courses focusing on understanding the inner workings of elementary mathematics, not just procedural knowledge, in order to prepare pre-service elementary teachers. Class size is 20-25 students mostly freshman and sophomores. The class met 2 times a week over a 16-week semester. Many of the students self-reported having negative attitudes towards learning and doing mathematics.


At the beginning of the semester each student receives a copy of the participation rubric and data collection sheet. Data is collected once a week from students and turned in for instructor review and comment on. I normally have students submit their data collection sheet at the end of class; it takes about 2 minutes for them to fill it out. At the end of the semester a final participation score is determined based on the data collected.

Description of activity

Attached is the rubric and data collection sheet I use. It is adapted from “On Course” by James M. Lang.


Participation grades are often subjective and hard to assign in an impartial way. I’ve always struggled with marking students’ participation grade down because it is so subjective. Having students do a self-assessment of their participation has fixed this and has given us an opportunity to discuss their participation so that they will learn to fully participate in the course.


To provide structure to communicate with students about their participation in a course as well as provide them an opportunity to reflect on their progress in the course.


While students haven’t given me feedback either way about the participation rubric,
I love using this in my classes and plan to implement it in many other classes. I initially planned to use the rubric simply for data collection as well as clear communication of my expectations of participation, however I have found the it is a great communication tool. The data collection sheet has been a place where students will share what is going on in their lives that has affected their performance in my class. This knowledge has helped me be a more compassionate instructor. Furthermore, I have been able to encourage individual students to participate more in a private non-threatening way.