Graded Work for English 105
Each year I spend hours writing responses to students' writing, both early and final drafts, in addition to countless emails and paper notes we exchange. As I write, I try to give students a clear idea of what is working in their writing and what needs improvement. That writing matters far more to me than grades computed for individual assignments, or final course grades. Nevertheless, I recognize that twelve or more years of relentless grading have conditioned most college students to such an intense focus on grades that they cannot bear not to receive them, even though they routinely describe the experience of being graded as profoundly painful and unpleasant. Please keep in mind that English 105 can be taken Pass/No-Pass, which requires only a C- or better to receive a "Pass" and 3 credits toward graduation without having any effect upon students' Cumulative Grade Point Average (the insane climax of the grading system). If students sign the appropriate forms to take the course Pass/No-Pass, I would be happy to continue the written comments on papers while "grading" them only "Strong Pass," "Pass," or "No Pass," to help writers track their overall progress. I also would continue to give P/NP students grades, though that seems to defeat the best result of the P/NP strategy--focusing our attention solely on the students' writing, and on the writers' evolving abilities to control its purposes and effects. Whether you choose the graded or Pass/No-Pass option, please take time to read and understand the College Writing Proficiency Criteria, which guide all of my efforts to teach you to meet Goucher's community standards for what qualifies as good writing. Also, look at hyperlinks below which connect to the evaluation criteria I have written to determine whether individual writing assignments are meeting those criteria. The more you understand what the course is trying to teach you, the closer you are to having learned it.
Product Purchase Recommendation: 10%
Paper #2 Hawthorne Project: 15%
Paper #3 Film Analysis Project: 15%
Paper #4 Independent Research 15%
Final Portfolio (revision of one paper from #2, 3, or 4): 20%
Class Participation (turning in all assignments, including ungraded pre-writing and other ungraded work, on time or by an agreed-upon due date; regularity of attendance; contribution to class discussion; reading and viewing movies assigned in time for class; peer editing performance and other substantive assistance to your colleagues; prewriting for the PPR, Hawthorne and film projects, Paper #4 reports, source citations for Hawthorne and film analysis); library research workshops and presentations for the independent research project): 25%
When your papers are returned, pay attention to the way I sub-divided your paper's level of performance in each of the five skill/content areas. Each section is worth 20 points, for a total of 100. Click here for a quick way to get a "sub-grade" for the skill/content scores. If, on your next paper, you concentrate on improving the ones that are lowest, and if you can do that without lowering the quality of the others you already were doing well in, you will see a predictable improvement in the quality of your academic writing. As always, students who take time to work with Writing Center tutors tend to improve more and faster than those who work alone.