Preparation, Professionalism, Assessment, Attentiveness
14 September 20096
APPA score honors the fact that scholarship is a communal endeavor. No true
scholar is an "island," untouched by the sensitivities and ideas of others,
or whose own ideas are untested by others. Knowledge is a corporate human endeavor,
and develops through interchange of ideas and challenges of scholars engaged in
the pursuit of truth. Theological ideas, especially in a Catholic context, are rooted
in the communal life of the church and are tested in the ecclesial journey toward
fullness of truth in God.
The classroom is one of the more important contexts for this communal, scholarly
endeavor. Student engagement is a sine qua non of education. Students benefit
not only from the instructor's presentations, but also from interaction with their
classmates. Students learn better when they are prepared for the class discussion.
They also learn better what they themselves say aloud. The overall course
grade takes this into account in delegating a substantial portion of the grade to
the APPA score.
The APPA grade is based on quality and quantity of input, as well as on
attentiveness and receptivity to the ideas of others in the class. This presumes
keeping pace with the readings in the primary and secondary literature assigned
for each session.
- The "attendance" component allows that one's alert presence, at the very least,
provides moral support for the other members of the seminar.
- In the "participation" component (e.g., talking in small group discussions, asking questions or making appropriate comments during lectures), weight is given to the quality of one's contributions to class discussion, not merely the quantity.
- The "preparation" factor (e.g., evidence that you have done the reading, turning in the assignments) presumes keeping pace with the readings in the primary and secondary literature assigned for each session, and conveying this by the quality of questions and/or comments during each session.
- The "professionalism" factor includes such factors as appropriate comportment, dress, and language in class. for example, eating and use of cellular telephones usually are not appropriate classroom behaviors. See this link for further information.
- The "assessment" factor involves peroidic activity-based, peer-, and self-evaluations. Socrates opined that "the unexamined life is not worth living." Socrates was on trial for "heresy' because he encouraged his students to think for themselves rather than blindly accepting the cultural "truths" of the time. One hopes that a capital heresy trial is not in any student's future, but the ability to evaluate one's own work and that of others is key to professional success. Class assessments are intended to help students gain this necessary skill.
- The "attentiveness" factor (i.e., looking alert and interested in the class activities)
recognizes and values the fact that we also learn by actively listening to the contributions
of others during the seminar meetings, and by keeping the discussions focused on
the topic area. Being present in class means being present to one's classmates
you are one of those people who find it difficult to talk in a large group setting,
you might use a daily class journal or the online discussion board and means to supplement your class participation and
provide evidence of your preparation for and attentiveness in class discussions.