Evaluation and Grades in HIST 103

A Contract Grading System

 

HIST 103 operates with a contract grading system. This means there are no major exams, no major term papers. The approach to assignments and grading is much more incremental than that, emphasizing short quizzes and modest assignments. This scheme spreads the work out over the semester, but it also makes it exceedingly important (for both students and instructors) to keep up and stay on schedule.

 

The basic principle in contract grading is that in order to achieve a certain grade, you need to accumulate a certain number of points in the course of the semester. This means that while those with an aptitude for History may have an advantage, because they will score well on quizzes and other required work, those who do not have such aptitude for the subject can, to a large degree, make up for it by doing conscientious and additional work. There are two good things about this basic scheme.

 

1.      It values outcomes, achievement, more than raw talent. Thatís the way it is in the so-called real world, after all.

2.      It promotes a work ethic grounded in personal responsibility.

 

Contract Grading Scale

(350 Points Possible)

Letter Grade

Points Required

A

315

B

280

C

245

D

210

 

The table above stipulates the number of points required (out of a maximum 350 points possible) to achieve a certain letter grade in the course. There are two types of points.

 

1.      Hard points: points that have to be earned through performance of a specified, required activity. Nothing else can substitute for hard points. There are 250 hard points possible.

2.      Soft points: points earned through performance of other, individual activities. They count just as much as hard points, and you need a certain number of soft points to achieve the grade you want, but they do not substitute for hard points. There are 100 soft points possible.

 

The tables below shows how hard points and soft points are earned.

 

Hard Points

Quizzes Ė 15 quizzes (one for each lecture) totaling 150 points

Quiz

Points Possible

Q1

7

Q2

10

Q3

12

Q4

12

Q5

12

Q6

10

Q7

11

Q8

8

Q9

12

Q10

9

Q11

9

Q12

11

Q13

9

Q14

10

Q15

8

Participation Ė points earned through online discussions

Individual

75

Group

25

Total Hard Points Possible

250

 

Soft Points 

Assignment

Points Possible (Each Submission)

Democracy in Your Community

30

History in Your Community

30

Book Review

40

Film Review

20

Total Soft Points Possible

100

 

Why not do your soft point assignments early and take the pressure off yourself? As a baseline of prevention against end-of-term glut, we have certain simple ground rules for submission of assignments for soft points.

 

1.      No more than one soft-point submission in any seven-day period.

2.      No more than three submissions in any calendar month.

3.      Accumulate 50 soft points by the midpoint of the course, and receive a bonus of 10 points added to your total of hard points at end of term.

 

OK now, letís review the terms of evaluation and grades. The hard points are ones that cannot be substituted for. You have to take the quizzes, do the participation tasks, in order to earn these. Notice, though, that many of the 250 hard points are awarded for participation. These are points you should get if you show up and do the work; itís up to you. The soft points are where you have even more flexibility. You can do all book reviews, combine film reviews with community events, accumulate whatever combination you wish. You can keep submitting assignments until you reach the maximum of 100 soft points. In the category of soft points, truly, itís all up to you as a simple matter of responsibility. None of this is to gainsay the importance of working through the lectures and doing well on the quizzes. Do the math; 150 points come from the quizzes; you canít do without those and pass the course.