A flipped service course for me is an arrangement where videos are online and on-campus class time is used for problem solving by students. I usually have a homework due date the day after the discussion.

The question is how to grade the participation part. If I assign high percentage then the non-participating students can go from C to F. If I assign low percentage A's have less incentive to participate. I am looking for a grading structure that lifts the whole class.

I try to be gentle and convey that public tutoring is a necessity. However attendance has been an issue and participation is so so. A problem with having videos online its that it gives students one more reason not to attend.

I simply tally the number of times a student has come to the board to get some N. The question is how to use N so that participation and attendance improve and the deviation in N is reduced.


Does this work: Make exams a bit hard so highs are below 90. Then assign 10 for participation and 3 for attendance?

The class was ODEs and it had 18 students. By the end of semester the average participation was 7 times and the max was 20. Things that will improve the experience: (1) Rewrite the solution a student is presenting while they are writing their version, so that a clean and readable display is visible to the class. (2) Come up with a practical system to keep track of student participation. (3) Do an attendance check at the start and end of each class.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Grading on a curve is evil. $\endgroup$
    – Rusty Core
    Apr 12 at 2:57
  • $\begingroup$ Has the course already started?  (“attendance has been an issue” makes it seem so.)  If so, what were the students told initially about how it'd be graded?  (It'd hardly be fair to change the grading mid-stream.) $\endgroup$
    – gidds
    May 16 at 19:40
  • $\begingroup$ @gidds Students were told that this is an experiment and grading the flipped-component was fluid. It was to be a separate grade at the start, but at the end it became a bonus point. If I were to do it again I will experiment with the procedure mentioned under EDIT. $\endgroup$
    – Maesumi
    May 17 at 13:13

1 Answer 1


To me, the main advantage of a "flipped classroom" is not to genuflect to the latest liberal edu-fad. But that you are replacing some lecture time with some drill time. (Yes, that old fashioned drill and kill.) This is regardless if you have videos or just lessen the lecture time. (Or even tell them to skim the chapter prior to lesson.)

I would just do the same assessment scheme that I would advocate normally. I.e. one period (Friday preferable) closed book test (weekly for a 5 day/week class, biweekly for a college 3-4 day/week class).

You could also do daily one question 5 minute quizzes at lecture start (Escalante-style) if you want to push attendance. (Separate debate exists if you want to do this--my sentence was conditional.) If you do, I would be pretty minimal with the weighting. Don't kill kids that really get it done on the period-long tests. Or just make it upgrade only. But again, be minimal with the amounts...not too much stick/carrot...not worth it...participation is less important than valid assessment. Of course make the daily quiz questions easy for you to grade. Like numerical answers, with a box waiting for the kids, and 100%/0% given. And the questions should be hyper easy also, just reflecting the lesson you wanted them to pre-study.


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