The grading system is designed to help you focus on improvement in understanding and in skills over time -- because the speed with which you pick up a new skill is not as important as the depth with which you get it and your ability to apply it to new situations, and because what we are really doing here is trying to help you learn how to learn and how to create new knowledge. Physics is an ideal place to do this, because it is a field that is all about discovering how things work.
Thus the lion's share of the grade for the class is based on a list of specific skills and concepts, which will be assessed in some way on every assignment, every quiz, every project, etc. If you give me hard evidence that you have mastered a particular skill at any point in the trimester, you will get an A for that particular skill, even if it takes you weeks and many attempts to get to that mastery.
You will receive a report on your progress on each of the skills of the course on a regular basis. It is your responsibility to work to improve on skills that you are struggling with, and to arrange for new assessment attempts.
On each skill you will receive a score of
- 4 (green) Advanced
- 3 (yellow) Proficient
- 2 (orange) Developing
- 1 (red) Beginning
- 0 No Basis (you haven't given me any evidence yet)
You will keep a lab notebook showing your work on experiments, data collection, analysis, and writeups throughout the year. You will periodically turn this notebook in and will receive feedback on your work.
Homework should be thought of as practice and there are several ways you can get credit for this category:
- Read the textbook, take notes, and do the reading assignments
- Do the suggested problems in Mastering Physics (from the Practice book)
- Complete extra problems from Mastering physics or out of the textbook directly
- Come in for help on topics you don't understand
- Other items that you deem worthy of your time for learning physics
You will submit evidence of work you have done each week on Fridays -- this will include some self-reflection on what you have learned for the week, what you need to work on, and what you have done. Just submitting the answers for homework is not enough, your submission should also include such things as pictures of your homework notebook showing the work, diagrams, graphs, etc. that you used to arrive at your answers.
Projects like the photography and programming projects will happen periodically, and you will submit a self-reflection on the assignment telling me what skills and categories you think you have shown mastery of through the project.
Your overall grade will be calculated as:
- 50 %: Average of scores on skills from above
- 25 %: Lab Notebook and Reports
- 25 %: Homework
Is something unclear? Leave a comment below: