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Abstract

Basic communication course instructors encourage student participation in the classroom by employing a variety of strategies, including graded participation. The present study examined the methods that basic course instructors use to facilitate and assess student participation in the classroom through focus groups interviews exploring how students perceive graded participation in the basic course. The findings suggest that while there are conditions in which the focus group students enjoy participation, there are also conditions in which they perceive such strategies as a power issue for instructors and reject the notion that participation accurately measures their level of involvement and learning in the classroom. Moreover, results indicate that students perceive instructor immediacy to be a significant factor in their willingness to participate. Finally, the focus group members offered several suggestions for instructors to better facilitate student participation in the classroom.