Behavioral Dimensions"A" or "Outstanding Students""C" or "Average Students"
Ability (Talent)Have strong aptitude, motivation, or a combination of both. This talent may include either of both creativity and organizational skills.Vary greatly in aptitude. Some are quite talented, but their success is limited by a lack of organizational skills and motivation. Others are motivated but lack strong aptitude.
Attendance (Commitment)Never miss class. Their commitment to the class resembles that of their professor. Attending class is their highest priority.Periodically miss class and/or often late. They either place other priorities, such as a job, ahead of class or have an illness or family problem(s) that limit their success.
Attitude (Dedication)Show initiative. Their desire to excel makes them do more work than is required.Seldom show initiative. They never do more than is required and sometimes do less.
Communication SkillsWrite well and speak confidently and clearly. Their communication work is well organized, covers all relevant points, and is easy to listen to or read.Do not speak or write particularly well. Their thought processes lack organization and clarity. Their written work may require a second reading by the professor to comprehend its meaning.
CuriosityAre visibly interested during class and display this interest in the subject matter through their questions.Participate in class without enthusiasm, with indifference, or even boredom. They show little, if any, interest in the subject matter.
Performance = Ability + Motivation (see below)Obtain the highest scores in the class. They exhibit test-taking skills such as an ability to budget their time and to deal with test anxiety. They often volunteer thoughtful comments and ask interesting questions.Obtain mediocre or inconsistent scores. They often do not budget their time well on exams and may not deal well with test anxiety. They rarely say much during class discussion and their answers indicate a cursory understanding rather than a mastery of material.
PreparationAre always prepared for class. They always respond when called on. Their attention to detail sometimes results in catching text or teacher errors.Are not always prepared for class. They may not have fully completed the assignment, have completed it in a careless manner, or hand in their assignment late.
RetentionLearn concepts rather than details. They are therefore better able to connect past learning with presented material.Memorize details rather than learn concepts. Since they usually cram for tests, they perform relatively better on short quizzes than on more comprehensive tests such as the final exam.
Time Commitment (Effort)Maintain a fixed study schedule. They regularly prepare for each class no matter what the assignment. They average 3-4 hours of study for every hour in class.Study only under pressure. When no assignment is due, they do not review or study. They average no more than two hours of study in every class. They tend to cram for exams.

Motivation = Combination of punctuality, attendance, attitude, curiosity, effort, time commitment, and/or preparation.

*Adapted from: Solomon, P., & Nellen, A. (1996). Communicating about behavioral dimensions of grades. The Teaching Professor, Feb., 3-4.