An Important Grading Change

Perspectives students who’ve been with me all year long are aware that I have not included individual, short writing assignments in the grade book. My purpose in doing so has been to require each student to practice academic writing without penalizing him or her for the quality of an individual forum post; I felt it allowed me to look at a student’s work as a whole. Because I also did not penalize students for turning this work in late, it also allowed students who were slower readers or writers to work at their own pace.

Unfortunately (some would say predictably), in practice this has led to a long, slow decline in the number of students actually completing writing assignments in any sort of timely manner. Last term, we had some students trying to make up many forum posts in a short time, just before finals. We had some students initially put them off, then forget about them altogether. As of this morning, the assignment that we worked on March 14-15  had been turned in by less than half the students in our class, and half of those were over a week late. Whatever my intentions with this policy, there is no standard by which we can say it’s working.

So here’s the new policy: we will have one Moodle forum assignment of 500 words or so every week. We will work on it on Thursday; it will be due Monday. Each will receive a letter grade; collectively, they will account for 25% of your grade for the class.

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