Written by Dr. Sarah Ropp
Evaluating dialogue in the classroom is a tricky business, whether we are talking about assessment (trying to determine the degree to which classroom dialogue has achieved its goal for the purpose of affirming or adjusting pedagogical approach) or grading (attempting to assign a quantitative value to student performance). As Brookfield and Presskill (1999) write, “We don’t believe there really are any standardized protocols or universal measures we can apply to assessing a discussion leader’s effectiveness or the value of student contributions.”
However, reflecting critically on what has just happened in the dialogue, including facilitator choices and participant contributions and experiences, is deeply valuable for both teachers and students. And assigning a grade to dialogue participation is a way to signal its value and importance as a learning outcome in the course, validate student effort, and make expectations transparent and consistent.
There are endless ways to both assess and grade dialogue. Below are some ready-to-use resources to spark ideas.
- 4 exit ticket ideas for assessing dialogue (also available as a PDF)
- Dialogue participation grading rubric for instructor use
- Dialogue participation self-grading rubric for student use
- Whole-class dialogue participation tracking sheet
- Self-reflection before, during, and after dialogue worksheet for students
- Post-dialogue facilitator self-reflection questions