Student Participation in the Mixed Age College Classroom

Document Type


Publication Date

January 1996

Publication Title

Teaching Sociology


Previous research regarding students' verbal participation in the college classroom has focused largely on gender and class size. Using a triangulation of methods (observation, survey, and interview), this study, conducted at an extension campus of a large state university, examines the impact of students' age on classroom discussion. Age, gender, attendance, week in the semester, and time of day are found to be significant determinants of verbal participation. The results indicate a "consolidation of responsibility" for participation. Students' reasons for their lack of participation are examined, as are their attitudes toward "talkative" students. Suggestions are offered for increasing participation.Note: Link is to the article in a subscription database available to users affiliated with Butler University. Appropriate login information will be required for access. Users not affiliated with Butler University should contact their local librarian for assistance in locating a copy of this article.