Effort and participation grades are typical weighted categories for educators to evaluate student characteristics that enhance learning, life skills, and overall success (Isnawati & Saukah, 2017). Students’ effort prioritizes learning and life skills such as respect for others, initiative in the learning process, and the ability to self-advocate and show academic responsbility. Participation is often directly connected to attentiveness, preparness, and engagement in the classroom. While both categories include essential criteria for successful academic and life outcomes, they each represent different abilities to learn and grow as students and future contributing citizens.
Non-academic grades have a purpose in motivating students and appreciating their efforts in the learning process. The evaluation of life skills such as effort and participation enhance student accountability and increase focus on future contribution to the community. However, one must also acknowledge that the use of non-academic grades can play a part in widening the achievement gap by giving students a false sense of achievement (TNTP, 2018). Grading policies that include non-academic grades are grounded in noble purpose, but blur the lines of academic proficiency.
Isnawati, I., Saukah, A. (2017). Teachers’ grading decision making. TEFLIN Journal, 28(2), 155-169.
Stiggins, R. (2008) Assessment manifesto: A call for the development of balanced assessment systems. ETS Assessment Training Institute.
The New Teacher Project (TNTP). (2018). The Opportunity Myth. Retrieved from https://tntp.org