Sample Discussion Evaluation Form

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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.
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.
Example of a DISCUSSION EVALUATION FORM
[The form conveys to students the characteristics of effective discussion. It could be given to students before
group discussion to help guide their participation, and used following discussion to evaluate the discussion.]
Name:
Date:
How much did you
learn from the group discussion
A. a lot B. a little C. nothing
participate in the discussion
A. a lot B. a little C. not at all
enjoy the discussion
A. a lot B. a little C. not at all
How effective was the group in allocating time and getting work accomplished:
A. very B. somewhat C. barely D. not at all
Incidence of Productive and Counterproductive Discussion Behavior- Check any you engaged in and circle any you
observed in others.
__ asked, gave information
__ monopolized discussion
__ asked, gave reactions
__ called attention to self
__ asked, answered questions
__ chronic interruptions
__ restated ideas/points in articles
__ criticized others (put down)
__ restated ideas/points of discussants
__ changed subject often
__ asked for/gave examples
__ frequent irrelevant comments
__ asked for/gave summary
__ withdrawn, did not participate
__ asked for/gave evidence or support for ideas
__ apologetic
__ redirected group to return to task
__ OTHER-please specify:
__ monitored time
__ encouraged, supported other ideas
__ elaborated on others' ideas
__ OTHER-please specify
As a learning experience I would evaluate the discussion as
A. poor B. fair C. average D. good E. excellent
Give reasons for your rating. Be specific, give examples.
What, if any, aspects of your own behavior do you need to change to be a more effective group member?
What, if any, aspects of other group members' behavior need to change to enhance the group’s learning?
What, if anything, did the instructor do that facilitated effective, whole-class discussion?
What, if anything, did the instructor do that inhibited effective, whole-class discussion?
What, if anything, should the instructor do or not do that would improve the quality of whole-class discussion?
Collaborative Learning Techniques, Cerbin 4/23/10

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