I use the following weightings for grading:
- 25% - 12 quizzes
- 25% - 4 exams (four, equally weighted)
- 10% - a "final exam" in essay form
- 20% - 2 essays (weighted as follows: 10% for Essay 1, a
series of written simulation preparation assignments, and 10% for a
post-simulation review of your experience contrasted with real world
events interpreted with theory discussed in the course)
- 10% - simulation participation during class time based on peer review
- 10% - simulation participation during class time based on TI evaluations
- The above assignments are distributed evenly throughout
the semester. The "final exam" scheduled for December 13th, will consist of a take-home essay given out on the last day of class along with your last objective
test (the 4th exam) and due by 2 p.m. December 13th). The reason for
this policy is to help you avoid "end of semester" stress, as well as
improve retention of information and understanding.
- There are no makeups for quizzes or exams or essays or simulation participation, nor are there substitutes. In case of accident or hospitalization or debilitating illness or a car breakdown, etc., notify me if physically possible prior to the quiz or exam by calling 956-7180 and leaving a recorded message; if you do I will make alternative arrangements; if you don't, I won't. The reason for this policy is to reduce the possible temptation to act
irresponsibly or deceptively.
- Essay components turned in later than one class session after the due date are penalized on a sliding scale: 10% off for turning it in 2 sessions late, 40% for 3 sessions, 60% for 4 sessions, and no credit thereafter). The reason for this is that the value of this work diminishes to the extent your classmates do not have access to it over time. They as well as you, will use these essay components for developing simulation policies.
- There is no "grading on a curve." Grading is based on
performance: 90% or better is an "A"; 80-89% a B; 70-79% a C; 60-69% a
D, and less than 60% an F. These cut points may be reduced somewhat if
I find that the best performing students in class were unable to
achieve the maximum grades. I also use a decision rule based on overall
class performance: I lower all the cut points by 10% if fewer than 10%
of the students are getting A's. The reason for this is that I believe
that systematically low grades on average reflect much more on my
structuring of the class than on variation in the quality of students'
average ability, natural desire to learn, motivation, or study habits.
Low average performance is indicative of the grade I should get, not
you. I'm still working on alternatives to this rule and am open to
suggestions. Not surprisingly (to me at least), since I instituted this
decision rule, I have never had to lower my cutpoints, since about
about a third or more students earn As!
- Disputes. If you have problems with the
course, especially if you feel that the organization of the course or
my teaching or the teaching interns' performance could be improved in
some way, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will try to do
something about it. If the response to the problem is in your view
inadequate, you should first contact the Political Science Department's
Undergraduate Chair (check for this person's name in the Department
office (Saunders 640, or phone them at 956-8357); and if the resulting
mediation proves dissatisfactory, then contact the Department Chair,
then the Vice President for Student Affairs (you may dial 956-7111 and
ask the UH Operator to connect you to that office), to mediate the
dialog between us at various levels. I take your concerns as seriously
as you do.
For more information on my teaching philosophy and how I
learned it, see my essay on the subject, "Active Learning, Critical Thinking, and Personal Responsibility in a Multi-cultural, Self-organizing Course on International Relations",
delivered at the second annual Teaching and Learning Conference of the American Political Science Association, February, 2005.