At next week’s meeting we will form a subcommittee to write an official department grading policy. To give the subcommittee a jump start, I have quickly drafted one that aligns with grading schemes I use in my own classes.
Grading policy for classes with a uniform final exam:
An instructor may decide on the exact grading scheme for their class but grading schemes must adhere to the following department guidelines. Grading schemes must appear on an instructor’s eClass folder.
According to college policy, overall grades as percents align with letter grades according to the diagram:
- The final exam is set by the math department. A student’s final exam grade must count for 20% to 40% of their overall grade.
- Regardless of a student’s overall grade, they must score at least a 50% on the final exam to pass the course.
- Students may use calculators during the final exam. They may not use any other devices (for example, they may not use a calculator on their cell phone).
- Students may not use formula sheets of any kind during the final exam (except for MAT 1272 and MAT 1372???).
- Uniform scoring guides are available for many classes with uniform final exams and instructors are encouraged to use them. Instructors should contact course coordinators for copies of these scoring guides. An instructor who plans to use a scoring guide for the final exam should align their grading throughout the semester with the guide as much as possible.
- In addition to the final exam, grades for at least three term tests must count toward a student’s overall grade. Together, these term tests must count for 50% to 70% of a student’s overall grade.
- An instructor who wishes to drop students’ lowest test grades from overall grade calculations must offer at least four term tests throughout the semester in addition to the final exam.
- Suggested textbook homework problems appear on the course outline and, for classes where is available, WeBWorK (online homework) sets appear on the course outline as well.
- Instructors are encouraged to have students complete textbook homework and WeBWorK (where available) as part of their overall grade. A student’s homework and/or WeBWorK grades may count for no more than 20% of their overall grade.
- Learning to write careful solutions is an important part of student success in mathematics. Instructors are encouraged to collect students’ written work and offer feedback throughout the semester (not just on term tests). For example, an instructor using WeBWorK may give regular quizzes where students must show all their work.
- Participating in class is important for student success in mathematics and instructors should encourage students to participate in class whether it counts toward overall grades or not. Instructors are responsible for creating an environment where students can participate.
- If participation is part of students’ overall grades, the instructor must be very clear of the expectations as part of their grading policy at the beginning of the semester. Such instructors must also create options for students to participate other than simply speaking out in class. Some suggestions for assigning participation credit include
- sharing written work on the board
- attending office hours
- participating in OpenLab and/or Blackboard discussions
- participating in the WeBWorK on the OpenLab question/answer forum
- attending tutoring (students should ask tutors for verification slips to return to their instructors)
- A student’s participation grade may count for no more than 10% of their overall grade.
- In-depth assignments help students develop critical thinking skills as well as familiarity with course content and instructors are encouraged to assign them.
- The proportion of an overall grade which is devoted to projects depends on the scope and number of such projects and is at the discretion of the instructor.
- Many projects have already been created by CityTech math faculty and are available for instructors to use in their own classes. Instructors who are interested in these projects should contact their course coordinator.
- Extra credit can be a valuable incentive for students wishing to improve their grades, especially at the end of the semester. However, it must be used sparingly.
- Extra credit assignments must be substantial and must help students master course content and/or develop appropriate skills. They may count for no more than 5% of a student’s overall grade.