There once lived a young boy who tried really hard. He didn’t master the standards. He didn’t pass the class.
There once lived a young girl who didn’t work hard at all. She mastered all the standards in class. She passed.
Work ethic and participation have no place in a grading policy. A student should be graded purely on whether or not they learned the material required. This can be done via portfolios, tests, quizzes, essays, or a billion other ways. Grading a student on participation does them and you a huge disservice. You are believing the myth that if you work hard enough you can achieve anything.
You also believe that you can see past your own bias and viewpoint. How do you know how much a student participated? Where in the standards is participation? If it is one standard out of 10, 20, or 30 you are grading why is it worth so much weight?
Participation is an expectation.
If students are not participating they cannot demonstrate mastery of the standards. That is the issue. Find out why your students aren’t participating and fix your class, your teaching style, or your content.
How do we know who is participating? Ask them? Ask their teammates? Heart rate monitors? Does that tell the real story? It is a subjective process that is difficult to assess at best impossible to assess at worst.
Please stop telling our students that just doing something is good enough. They have to understand that learning is what we grade. Participation can be discussed and assessed but not graded.