Class Basics

Course Basics






Grading in this course will be based on the teacher’s evaluation of a student’s performance in the following areas. Grading for each trimester and individual assignments will follow the new PDS A-F/100-0 correlated system. Aside from formal evaluations, there are a number of factors that will determine your grade in this course. In no particular order, these include:


-ability to participate in class discussions in a thoughtful and meaningful manner
-quality of written work in terms of organization, use of imagination, and clarity
-positive interaction with other students on group projects-punctuality in handing in work
-ability to listen and to follow directions, particularly in incorporating suggestions for improvement
-personal initiative in both individual and group assignments-organizational ability
-genuine interest and enthusiasm-effort, and consistency thereof-attention to detail on homework
-demonstration of ability to complete readings in a timely manner-demonstration of grasp of course material
-attendance and punctuality for class


Below is a basic breakdown of how I will arrive at a trimester grade. The percentages are approximate as there is no fixed formula for determining a grade.


1. Class Citizenship & Homework (approx. 5% of trimester grade)


– positive contribution to class discussions and atmosphere, including respect and care for others
– active, focused and cooperative participation in class sessions and in group learning and activities
– faithful class attendance and on-time arrival to class
– keeping track of assignments, making arrangements for making up missed assignments and informing teacher of planned, excused absences
– on-time completion of all assignments and evaluations


Homework: reading, written assignments on readings, etc. Homework is meant to help you better understand concepts that we learn in class. Thus, homework is assigned for your benefit. I will grade graded homework (designated in the assignments) on a 10 point scale. Homework is due at the beginning of the class period. One point will be deducted for every day that homework is late.


Keep in mind that attention to detail and neatness both count towards your homework grade.


2. Formal Evaluations (approx. 95% of trimester grade).


Quizzes and Tests: depending on unit size, each course unit will be evaluated by a quiz, test or a combination of both. See the syllabus for an approximate breakdown of major quizzes and tests. Students are expected to take quizzes and tests on the assigned day. Apart from an excused absence due to illness, the only exception to this rule is when athletic contests conflict with the period during which the test is to be administered. When this situation arises, it is your responsibility to inform me at least 24 hours prior to its original administration time and to reschedule the test. If you miss a test because of an athletic contest, you are to take a makeup test earlier in the day of the test date, if you have a free period. If you miss a test because of illness, you are to take a makeup test on the first day you return to school. Failure to make up the quiz or test on that first day of return to school will result in a lowering of your grade by one grade level (e.g “A” to “B”) for each day that passes before the quiz or test is taken.


Larger Written Assignments: If assigned, these assignments will be varied in nature and will be explained as they are assigned. These assignments will sometimes serve as the foci for class discussions and special learning sessions. See the note below regarding deadlines.


Other Important Information


While you may seek clarification from a classmate on a homework assignment, under no means are you to copy homework. Copying homework and/or giving the impression that the work is not your own constitutes plagiarism and will be treated as such.


I expect your work in this course to be your own, completed without the assistance of classmates, friends, family members, or anyone else (expect me, as I am regularly available for extra help). You may only work with someone else on an assignment if I give you written instructions to do so (in the assignment). Your contributions to the class conference on pdsnet or the class weblog must be your own, made without anyone else’s assistance.


After taking a test or quiz, you may not discuss any aspect of the assessment with any other student until I return the graded assignment back to you. Discussing the contents of a test prior to taking the test, or listening to another student speak about a test, violates the integrity of the assignment and will be treated as a violation of the student code.


Important information regarding deadlines: You are expected to meet all deadlines for completion of work. An assignment is deemed to be late if it is not turned in on the day on which it is due. If you are not able to turn in an assignment on time, your grade will be lowered by one grade level for each day the assignment is late. A reduction in your grade will be automatic for late work unless you approach me before the assignment is due with an explanation that is satisfactory to me as to why you are not able to complete the work on time. Needless to say, I will only accept such explanations in extraordinary circumstances.


Extra Credit: At my discretion, opportunities to earn extra credit points may be given to the class as a whole. For example, in “Jeopardy” format review sessions, extra credit points can be earned.


Note: The above policy on grading reflects the policy of the US History & Religion departments as determined on 9/6/06. Thanks to my colleague George Sanderson for the use of some of his language in my drafting of the above policy.


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