Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Educational and Counseling Psychology


Educational Psychology and Methodology

Content Description

1 online resource (viii, 103 pages) : PDF file, illustrations (some color)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Joan Newman

Committee Members

Robert F. McMorriz, Deborah C. May


College, Engagement, Higher Education, Interaction, Participation, University, College teachers, Grading and marking (Students), Educational sociology, Active learning

Subject Categories

Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Educational Psychology | Higher Education


An exploratory study was launched to redress a gap in the literature that is expressed as an assumption that "most" college instructors grade participation in undergraduate courses. A sample of 521 instructors at a large, northeastern public university was surveyed to assess their attitudes and practices in grading participation in undergraduate courses of 50 students or less. A survey instrument was developed for the purpose of this study and subjected to principal components analysis, and this instrument yielded 7 subscales of acceptable reliability (Cronbach's alpha ≥ .70). Results suggest that the majority of instructors across disciplines incorporate a "participation" factor into students' final course grades. A discriminant function analysis was performed to generate a function which may be used to predict the likelihood that an instructor will grade participation based upon his/her beliefs and attitudes, and the proposed model was found to be discriminating (λ(3) = .70, N = 258, p < .001) with a moderate effect size. Implications and next steps are discussed.