Menu: — StandardsScoringPercentagesGrade Adjustment

I am a relatively tough grader, largely because I take research seriously and want you to as well.  Furthermore, this is an upper-division course.  You have many avenues for learning, and I expect you to take advantage of them.  Different students will do this differently; the course gives you some freedom to do that.  But I do reward quality in the final grades.

My Grading Standards:

A — (4.0)   You did everything I could possibly ask of you, and you did it extremely well.  You challenged yourself, learned a great deal, and showed conspicuous intelligence.  The quality of your work was excellent.

B — (3.0)   You did all the work, and you did it well.  You worked hard and learned a good deal.  The quality of your work was good.

C — (2.0)   You did all or almost all of the work.  It is clear that you learned a number of things, though those things may not hang together in a systematic and critical understanding of the course material.  The quality of your work was adequate.

D  — (1.0)   You did most of the work.  You may have learned some things, but it is not clear that you learned anything important.  The quality of your work was less than adequate.

F — (0.0)     You did not complete the course requirements at the level expected of college students in this subject area.

(Grades of x.3 and x.7 demonstrate levels
of work between these major standards.)

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  • I score assignments as “Excellent”, “Satisfactory”, “Underdeveloped”, “Limited”, or “Unacceptable”.
    • The Moodle gradebook records these as points between 10 and 2 (with 0 for a missing assignment).  I use the words so that you will focus on my comments rather than on your score, while still giving you a sense of how your work meets my standards.
    • The point system lets Moodle summarize each of the major assignment areas (below).  You will thus always know how you are doing overall on this “Excellent”, “Satisfactory”, etc. scale.
  • One consequence of this system is that bombing a single assignment will not kill your final course grade.  Though it is not terribly easy to earn an 4.0 in this class, it is rather difficult to fail – if you turn in your work.

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Like most courses, various assignments count toward different parts of your course grade.

Attendance and attention in class and completing the homework and reading are required.   The course doesn’t work unless we all put in the effort.   On this score, everyone starts out perfect, losing points for absences, brain-dead attendance, or a failure to prepare for class beforehand.   More positively, cooperative learning and active course leadership indicate that you know how to help others.

  • Asking thoughtful questions in class indicates that you are engaged and helping others.
  • So does obvious class interaction and leadership.
  • In order to avoid penalizing shy people, I also accept conversations during office hours as participation.  They even count as leadership, if you bring others with you to talk about substantive issues.

Together, these constitute 10% of your grade.
See THIS PAGE for a description of what I expect.

Beyond that, the other assignments count for the following percentages:

  1. Reading quizzes — 10% of your grade
  2. CITI Training (research ethics) — 5% of your grade  (slam-dunk: complete it on time and you get full credit)
  3. Search Strategies exercise, Journal exercises, and Research examples — 15% of your grade
  4. Field and data exercises — 15% of your grade
  5. Research design project — 25% of your grade
  6. Midterm exams — 20% of your grade (10% each)

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Grade Adjustment Option:

At the end of the semester, you will have the option of adjusting some of these course elements up or down by as much as 5%, so long as the total still adds to 100.  Specifically, you may adjust #3, #4, #5, and #6, above: the Journal and Research examples; the Field and Data exercises; the Research Design project; and the exams.

This lets you pay more attention to some course elements than to others, as your interests draw you.

For example, you might spend more time on your field and data exercises than is absolutely required, and decide to raise that part of your grade to 20%.  You could then adjust one or more of the other elements down, to compensate.

You do not need to use this option, but I will not let it hurt you; I will figure your grades twice: once with standard weighting and again with your adjustments.  You will earn whichever grade is higher.

Note that you may not adjust the 10% assigned to class attendance, participation, and leadership.  Nor may you adjust the 10% assigned to reading quizzes nor the 5% assigned to CITI ethics training.

Click HERE to download the Grade Adjustment Form.  Fill it out and turn it in at the end of the course.

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