Example Of A Discussion Evaluation Form


Helping Students Understand How to Participate in Discussions
The term, discussion, refers to many different types of interactions, ranging from informal to highly
structured exchanges. One reason for ineffective or unproductive discussions is that students may not
understand what form of discourse you expect them to produce.
Why not describe the types of interaction that constitute productive or effective discussions in your
class? An example of this is the Discussion Evaluation Form. The shaded portion of the form indicates
specific types of behavior that typify productive and counter productive discussions. It conveys to
students a simple model of what discussions should look like, and indicates what they should try to do
and avoid doing. Students can use the form to monitor their own behavior and also evaluate the quality
of discussion in a group.
Suggested ways to use a Discussion Evaluation Form:
 Ask students at the beginning of the course to identify what they believe are positive and
negative features of discussions. Incorporate these into discussion guidelines for the class.
 Clarify the role of discussion in the course. How is discussion supposed to contribute to their
learning? To what extent is discussion an important feature of the course, etc.
 Ask students to use the guidelines/form to monitor their own participation and/or the quality of
group discussions.
 Do not overuse the form. Unless there is a good reason to use the form often, use it judiciously.
 Customize the guidelines/form to focus on what types of interactions are most important in your
field and your class. For example, in your class you might ask students to analyze or evaluate
ideas, concepts, theories, readings, etc. Your discussion guidelines could emphasize the
important qualities of analysis and evaluation—in your field, related to the assigned work in your
class, etc.


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