Home » Isaac Kamola’s Class Participation Policy

Isaac Kamola’s Class Participation Policy

I expect all students to come to class having read the material, and prepared to actively engage in class discussion. I have developed this method for calculating participation in a way that emphasized both attendance as well as engagement in class. It also gives students the flexibility to miss a few classes without much penalty, assuming they are remaining active participants in class.

Here’s how I calculate participation:

  1. Everyone starts with 90%
  2. Each absence counts as -5%
  3. This score is adjusted based on the quality of participation, ranging from -15% to +15%


Quality of Participation Score




-15% Chronically absent, actively disruptive.


-7% Often absent, ill prepared, disengaged, and/or texting during class.


0% Average participation  (~1 comment or question per class), of average quality


+7% Prepared and participating throughout the semester. Demonstrates an
understanding of, and engagement with, the reading. 

Makes frequent comments in class. Demonstrates a commanding understanding of the reading. Exceptionally well-prepared and engaged throughout the semester.

Makes insightful comments. Always a generative member of class discussion.



Example 1 Example 2
Starting Score 90% Starting Score 90%
2 absences -10% (-5% *2) 2 absences -10%
Highly Engaged Participation +15% Average Participation 0
Participation Grade = 95% Participation Grade = 80%


Participation scores can never be greater than 100%.


Excused Absences

Please note: I do not differentiate between “excused” or “unexcused” absences. For example, if you are unable to attend class because of a sporting match, family obligation, sickness, interview or any number of other reasons, you will be counted as “absent.” The only exceptions are instances in which I receive confirmation from the Dean of Students that I should make exceptions (for example, in the case of serious illness, concussion, family emergency, etc.).

If you miss class, you can counteract the penalty by ensuring that you are consistently well-prepared and engaged in class discussion throughout the semester. I am happy to provide feedback about participation upon request.