End mandatory participation

Renae Karmen

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For many classes, student participation is required for a grade. Participation points are given to students who answer questions or share their opinions with the rest of the class. The idea that a student’s grade can be measured from class participation is absurd. There are many reasons this is a flawed notion.

For one thing, many introverted students find it difficult to talk in a large classroom setting. Whether it’s out of fear of answering a question wrong or the fear of public speaking, these students don’t like talking in class. Many of them prefer to just sit and listen to the professor teach, take notes and be engaged in class that way.

While a professor teaches, we all form our own opinions and thoughts about certain topics, but those of us who are introverted don’t always feel the need to share them with others. Some students just prefer to keep their thoughts to themselves and instead listen to other perspectives about the same topic.

In addition, forcing students to talk in class can cause unnecessary stress in their lives, causing their overall school performance to drop. Many students may have anxiety about speaking in front of others and forcing them to do so may negatively impact their mental health, which may cause their overall health to suffer as well.

If students are getting good grades on tests and papers, it is clear they understand the material being taught. Losing points and having a lower overall grade doesn’t reflect their ability to demonstrate the material they have learned.

If professors want to give credit to students who participate in class, I think extra credit can be given to students who talk a lot. I think that is a fair way to reward the more outgoing or talkative students without penalizing the shy students who prefer to not share with the class.

While I understand class participation is a good way to gauge whether or not a student is engaged in the material and see if students are paying attention, it is not something that should be graded or used to determine a student’s knowledge about a certain topic.

Class participation should be encouraged, not forced on students in order to get a good grade. Students can still be retaining the information without participating in class and can still do well if they don’t always share their opinion.

Class grades are supposed to be a direct reflection of a student’s knowledge. A participation grade does not directly reflect what a student has learned.
Professors are supposed to teach students and assess how well they have learned the material, not how much the students participate in class.

This way of grading students gives the extroverted students an unfair advantage because they have no issue with speaking in class or sharing their opinions.
The introverted students, however, are at a disadvantage because they are less likely to volunteer to share their opinions in a large group setting.

A student’s ability to participate in class depends on a number of factors. Their personality, as well as their learning style, affect how willing they are to speak to the rest of the class and share their opinions and viewpoints. Those who are more willing to share should not have an advantage over those who would prefer not to. Class participation should not be mandatory or a part of a class grade.