This informative essay covers student participation. Participation is essential since it
leads to great practice in thinking quick and having the ability to defend your position.
Participation is considered to be as close to getting to the world of business. For students,
possessing the ability to participate in meaningful discussions could lead to the application of
this ability to life after academia. Therefore, there are benefits of practicing discussions inside
the classrooms. The thesis statement of this paper is; there has been an increase in the
prevalence of the application of participation in learning institutions over the years, however,
does participation count for the final grade of a student and are there any factors that affect
student participation? This essay tries to answer this thesis statement at the same time critiques
the sources that contain information related to this topic.
Student participation refers to different mechanisms for the students that enable them to
address their opinions and ideally exert influence concerning class teachings, learning outcomes
and other learning decisions. Participation may take various forms and applied in different
human social activities such as participatory economics, political participation, and familial
participation. There has been an increase in the prevalence of the application of participation in
learning institutions over the years, however, does participation count for the final grade of a
student and are there any factors that affect student participation?
In an article Does every student have a voice? Critical action research on equitable
classroom participation practices, Lindsay Mack indicates that oral participation in class is
affected by the teaching method, social inclusion, and student's voice. In this article, Lindsay
examines the way to design and implement a critical research that may ensure equal participation
of students in a classroom setting. The focus of the author is on oral participation, and she aims
at reporting her research project carried out in a Japanese class with students from different
ethnic backgrounds who speak different languages (Mack, 2016).
Lindsay examines the way she may promote oral participation as a strategy of creating a
more equitable pedagogy. As an initial step, Lindsay details the action research plan, and this
includes a preliminary investigation within the class setting. She examines the action plan, the
intervention to adopt and the way to observe the outcomes. Later, Lindsay detailed student’s
views concerning oral participation. The oral participation was the basis of her intervention that
could promote students’ agency and equal participation in the class. During the project, Lindsay,
and her students redefine the conventional conceptions that form traditional oral participation.
This redefinition helped to improve the agency of the students and thus enhancing meaningful
pedagogy for all the students. Lindsay concludes that oral participation is not dependent on
cultural characteristics and linguistic abilities, but it determined by the method a teacher uses to
teach, social inclusion and voice of a student (Mack, 2016).
The application of participation in the classroom has raised the question whether there are
some questions an instructor may use to improve student participation. It is believed participation
is affected by student’s attitude towards the instructor and not the type of question the instructor
may ask during the teaching process. In a study Instructor-Initiated Questions and Student
Participation in College Classroom Discussion, Christopher finds that student participation in
the college setting positively improve the learning outcomes. The author discovers that asking
questions represents one way for the teachers to encourage student participation in class (Hill,
In this study, Christopher examined the college student’s preference for instructor
questions and their experience of the manner their instructor utilized questions in the classroom
setting. The researcher discovered that the type of questions an instructor asks affects the
student’s participation. Some students find certain questions embarrassing to answer in front of
their colleagues and yet others find the same questions interesting (Hill, 2016). This study
involves 232 participants, the number which is well enough for the researcher to make valid
claims as opposed to if the study could have only a small sample size. However, I find this study
being biased since the Christopher only focused on undergraduate students and other students in
higher levels of learning were not taken into account. It could have been wise to include various
students at different levels of learning to assist in the formulation of strong conclusions.
Although studies indicate that student participation helps to improve interaction within
the society, much lies beyond the interaction. For instance, the participation counts for the final
grade of a student. According to the article Grading Participation in College Courses: Instructor
Attitudes and Practices, Rogers and Susan find that student participation and the attainment of
the grade are directly correlated. In an explanatory study, Susan and Rogers use a sample of 521
instructors at northeastern public university and assess the attitudes and practices of the
instructors in grading participation in undergraduate courses of 50 students or less. The
researchers formulated the survey instrument and subjecting the instrument to the principal
components analysis; they obtained seven subscales of acceptable reliability (Cronbach's alpha ≥
0.7). The findings indicated that most of the instructors in various disciplines incorporated the
"participation" factor into the final course grades of the students (Rogers, 2011). Conducting a
discriminant function analysis for the purpose of generating the function that may assist in
predicting the probability of instructors grading participation based on their beliefs and attitudes
found the discrimination to be lambda (3) = 0.7, N = 258, p < 0.001 with a moderate effect size.
Susan and Rogers’s findings indicate that the degree to which the students participate in the class
largely affect their final grade (Rogers, 2011). This study is systematic and uses a simple
language that a reader can easily follow. The only weakness I find with the study is that it only
focuses on the role of participation and does not account the factors that can improve or
undermine the discussed participation.
The newspaper Participation Credit Varies Across Classrooms by Buchanan Heather
indicates that having a wide variety of class sizes and styles within a campus can lead one to
formulate a single policy for participation points. Buchanan indicates that a professor needs to
approach participation differently depending on the size of the class. The author indicates that for
the smaller course, two levels of participation exist with the first being physical and the second is
the mental presence. According to Bart Elmore, an assistant professor in the history department,
he requires students to send discussion questions to him before class. This is done as a way of
gauging the participation of the students. Therefore, the article is suggestive that participation
can be improved by sending requiring students to send questions before the actual class (Heather,
The article by Buchanan indicates that in a classroom, there are some louder and quiet
students and knowing the reason why a student is quieter helps to help his/her participation.
Another factor that affects student participation is the learning style. Buchanan indicates that
offering different ways of showing participation and understanding could relief some students
and during design, of course, professors should take into account the learning since this affects
student participation. An aspect of failing to prepare for the class affects the participation of
students and therefore it is essential for students to prepare before the class (Heather, 2014).
The article Participation Credit Varies Across Classrooms by Buchanan Heather covers
the factors affecting student participation, the factors that are common in learning institutions.
This article can, therefore, be used by instructors from various learning institutions in knowledge
acquisition concerning the way to improve student participation. However, most of content and
examples presented in this article is based on Bart Elmore, Brad Tuggle, and Lonnie Strickland,
who are instructors in their respective organizations (Heather, 2014). The article does not
provide any evidence from scholarly articles or researches and only relies on practices from the
three instructors. Therefore, there is sufficient evidence to support on what the three instructors
There is some evidence to show that student participation positively improves the
learning outcomes thus contributes to better final grade. Rogers (2011) indicated existance of a
strong relationship between student participation and the attainment of the grade. Therefore, it’s
important for teachers to create environments that encourage student participation. Student
participation can be affected by the teaching method, social inclusion and voice of a student.
Teachers should evaluate any other factor that may affect student participation and look for ways
to address it.
Heather, B. (2014). "Participation Credit Varies Across Classrooms.". Retrieved from
http://www.cw.ua.edu/article/2014/11/participation-credit- varies-across- classrooms
Hill, C. (2016). Instructor-Initiated Questions and Student Participation in College Classroom
Mack, L. (2016). " Does Every Student have a Voice? Critical Action Research on Equitable
Classroom Participation Practices.". Language Teaching Research, 417-34.
Rogers, S. (2011). Grading Participation in College Courses: Instructor Attitudes and Practices.
Diss. The state University of New York at Albany.