Most schools require their teachers to put grades to every student's "class participation." But you are dealing with diverse students in challenging classes and curriculum. You strive to bring out the best in them and to initiate their growth. Complicated by it being a different process for every student. You can find ways to encourage them to get involved.
The challenge of grading class participation can be reduced
Begin by giving students opportunities to participate in the first place. The worst kind of class is to put students in rows and then talk at them for all 40 minutes. With nothing to do, so the students' minds will create something. Which more than likely involves mischief.
Instead of lecturing seated students, have them re-create a presidential election, with opposing factions and candidates. Other students design and role play fictitious citizens to vote. Kids are so busy in your classes that they forget to act out.
I developed my lesson plans with class participation in mind.
The silent learner debate
Some argue that class participation grades disadvantage an introverted learner. Human beings learn differently, so my video includes options for the silent learners in your room without demanding that they change who they are. We don't want introverts, or any group for that matter, to feel uncomfortable.
Rubrics simplify your task
Here is a detailed rubric you can use, or adapt it for your own classes.
Rubrics are highly useful tools for grading. Consistent standards are shown and everyone is assessed on the same performance indicators. I encourage you to adopt, mix and match the elements of your rubric. My video below includes a list of suggested performance indicators for grading class performance, but you can choose the ones that best fit your needs.
If you learned or gained something from this post, won't you please pass it along to someone else, another teacher who might be helped? We need to support each other. A burden shared is a burden lightened.