How to do grading in this class?

April 5, 2010

in BasicInfo

You are all probably frustrated by the lack of feedback I’ve been providing. I apologize. Giving feedback to this class has been on my todo list (I realize lack of feedback is a problem), but things keep getting in the way.

Ideally, you should be doing this since you want to learn the material, but I understand that marks on your transcript are meaningful to some of you (the idea of grades in a graduate class is still wierd to me).

Your grade for this class will be a combination of:

  1. A big break for putting up with the experimental nature of this class.
  2. Do you show up? (I’ll be arrogant enough to believe that you’ll learn something by just being there)
  3. Do you contribute in lectures? (alternatively, do you contribute in other ways, like making posts, or sending lecture summaries – since I understand not everyone is comfortable contributing directly.
  4. Do you do the required minor assignments (e.g. do you make posts, …) – this is just counting?
  5. Are your minor assignments any good? (do you just make minimal posts on the readings, or do you routinely have something interesting to say)
  6. The major assignments (design challenge, critiques)
  7. The final project.

Some of those things are quantitative. But, others are highly subjective.

Michael and I tried an experiment to quantify participation, but it basically confirms our subjective experience.

Here is how I propose to give out grades (to those of you who get grades):

  • 25% of the grade is for putting up with me (so everyone gets an A on this part).
  • 25 % for the project (it’s 1/3 of the time of the class (5 weeks), but it’s not everything in that part).
  • 1/6 for the major assignments (they took up 5 weeks (1/3), and were 1/2 of what you were doing at that time).
  • 2/6=1/3 for the actual class part (2-5 above).

This week I will send you feedback on everything before break:

  • An assessment of your “major assignments”
  • The quantitative information we’ve gathered (how often do you show up, how many of the required minor assignments have you done)
  • Subjective assessment of your postings and participation (with the quantitative attempt as well).

For the subjective participation part, I expect to categorize people as:

  • Adequate/good/excellent – regularly contributes to the discussion or makes extra postings / sends summaries of lectures, etc.
  • Inadequate to Adequate – occassionally contributes to the discussion, rarely adds anything extra
  • Unacceptable to Inadequate – pretty much only contributes when called upon.

As its too hard to subjectively put things into finer divisions. You can probably guess which category I think you’re in.

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