My policies for class work and behavior and based on one main principle: fairness. Iíll make sure you know what to expect in each assignment, and youíll make sure you meet the deadline.
Youíll have regular, overnight assignments for homework credit, occasional tests (open-notes), and essays to write. In the English department, we do not calculate your grade by categories. Instead, each assignment is assigned a weight depending upon its difficulty. A simple worksheet may count once, but a quiz or test may be a double or triple-weight grade. A revised essay may be worth three or four grades. A research project may be worth six or more grades.
An assignmentís weight simply means the number of times that grade will be recorded in my gradebook. Therefore, skipping an essay may cost you three or four zeroes, whereas skipping a homework sheet may only cost one zero. But remember: any number of zeroes in your average will make your grade look far lower than what you are able to do.
Iíll assign at least one task every school day, so youíll find your daily routine will include at least some English homework. Working independently is perhaps the most crucial skill you can develop, and you will need to be able to manage your time increasingly well as you work your way through school.
All assigned work is due at the start of class, ready to hand in or to be checked for completeness. Most overnight assignments Iíll simply check to see that you made a sincere effort and completed the task. For each completion, youíll receive a plus. At the end of each five-week period, I tally the percentage of assignments you completed. That percentage becomes fifteen per cent of your grade each quarter. A homework average of 100 is not uncommon, and it will certainly improve your grade.
An essay is also due at the start of class. If you are late, though, I have a policy that still allows you to receive most credit. The first day an essay is late, I deduct twenty points from one of its weights. Each day thereafter costs five points from a single-weight of the grade. If I turned in a triple-weight essay three days late, and the essay was scored a 95%, then I would receive two grades of 95% (the value of the essay) and one grade of 65% (95 minus 30 late points). Does turning essays in late lower your grade? Yes, most certainly. Does not having an essay done on time mean you should ignore the assignment? No, you can still receive a significant amount of credit, far more than youíd receive by taking the zeroes.
I always expect students to do their own work. Copying another studentís notes is not only unnecessary in my class, but also against the rules. My reading guide questions are meant to make you think, to challenge your ability to understand and interpret. If you ignore the chance to discover your own answers, and simply write down someone elseís discoveries, youíll learn very little. Plus the person whose work you borrowed will probably resent being asked to hand over the results of hard work. Therefore, never borrow another studentís reading guide, and never represent another studentís work as your own. When weíre all straightforward and honest, we can stay focused on what is important: your learning.