Archive for the ‘Grades’ Category

Because I have already written exhaustively about the process and purpose of the last month of class, I will keep my feedback here brief.  You can find your scores on the research paper and persuasive essay through the Portal, and the original prompts and guidelines are here:

General commentary and adjustments follow.



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Go back and read this post, which introduces the concept of online adversarial augmentation. It offers you the opportunity to increase your adversarial scores—not a new concept, but one updated beyond the handwritten or typed requirement of the original guidelines.  You were given time in the library lab, in the classroom, and at home, plus a day of specific instruction that reviewed how to post comments.

Here are the results of our first online-augmented adversarial, from 4/25 through 5/1:

The brief notes cover the obvious: points lost for packing up early or refusing to participate; failure to utilize online (or offline) augmentation; and so on.  Here are the results of our second online-augmented adversarial, from 5/2 through 5/8:

The general notes cover your participation, or they point out success with a particular lesson; there are no notes about online augmentation, however, because there was no online augmentation.  And that ought to trouble you as much as it troubles your teachers.

You are in the midst of a final month that depends largely on your ability to use the resources in front of you.  You have all the time you need; you have all the documents you need; you have all the access to your teachers that you need.  If you work hard and steadily, you will do very well.  If you don’t work hard or steadily, you may not do well at all.  That none of you took advantage of this last online adversarial, even when given a day in the computer lab to get started, underscores the necessity of resource management.  You must track your progress and participation without access to the scores and without being forced, on penalty of a zero, to do work.

This extends far beyond any remaining adversarial discussions—and with your copy of our final calendar, you know when they’re coming—but let’s revisit the original guidelines for augmenting a scored discussion:

Augmenting Point Totals
In order to encourage students to continue these discussions after the bell dismisses the class, the adversarial format allows for augmentation of point totals:

  1. Any student who wishes to earn additional points after an adversarial lesson has ended—whether or not the student spoke—can do so by submitting an additional writing assignment.
  2. Based on the insightfulness, specificity, and effort evident in the submission, this work may earn additional points toward the daily point total.
  3. The submission must specifically reference in-class discussion, which can be done in a variety of ways:

a. By answering a question in new or greater detail
b. By elaborating on a classmate’s specific comment
c. By explicating passages not mentioned in class
d. By expanding on an essential question of the unit
e. Etc. —there are many ways to earn more points

As always, you should speak to me or send me an email if you need clarification.  Remember, there are no traps or trapdoors here; the way forward is clear, but it requires you to start walking.

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Your hard copy of this general commentary will be paired with the following spreadsheet:

Find your student number in the left column. Then move to the far right; your content score tells you how effectively you responded to the prompt overall in terms of our general rubric. More on this in a moment. Next to the content score is a column indicating any bonus credit earned. If you followed the MLA requirements exactly, turned your essay in on time, and uploaded it to Turnitin, you were given 50/50 bonus points. If you failed in any of those areas, you received no penalty (i.e., no zero), but there is no bonus.

In between your student number and these scores is a very brief set of comments about your particular paper. These comments do not address every aspect of your paper; instead, they touch on key strengths and weaknesses. Here is a key to the abbreviations used:

  • D=detail, specifics, evidence
  • D/novel=specifics from the novel
  • A1=arrangement, organization, paragraphing
  • M=meaning, analysis, insight
  • A2=intro, approach, and thesis statement
  • G=grammar and mechanics
  • E=ending, conclusion
  • S=style and voice, especially word choice and sentence variety

Some of you will also receive individualized commentary over the next few days. Regardless, you may schedule a conference with me before, during, or after school to workshop your writing or review this commentary. In general:


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Before the general commentary, a note on the classes held on 3/9, 3/10, and 3/11: For these three periods, you were asked to commit to 35 minutes of focused, individualized work; you were given directions and feedback at the start of the class; and the remaining period was spent completing the steps of the comparative essay, with the opportunity to conference with your teacher.  You were allowed to attack the prompt from a few directions.  You were required, regardless of your chosen focus, to work without pause.  You were not permitted to pack up early, drift into daydreams, or distract your peers.  And if you finished with 35 minutes of unmitigated productivity, two things happened:

  1. You went into the weekend much better equipped to finish the comparative essay before its 3/21 deadline
  2. You received 50/50 points in the gradebook per day

The second item there will boost your current average by 5-6 points, if you earned 50 points each day.  And, as you were told, you could not earn a zero; if you failed to focus for 35 minutes, you simply received no credit in the gradebook.  If you failed to focus, of course, you also harmed your ability to complete the steps of this comparative essay.  This puts the responsibiliy (perhaps culpability) for your current grade entirely on your shoulders.  Since you were also given the opportunity to earn 50/50 points for bringing in your writing folders and organizing them briefly, you could have boosted your average by almost ten points—and for nothing more than doing what you should always do.

You are likely to be given this carrot on a stick again.  Take advantage of opportunities like this; they focus you, improve your understanding of tasks and texts, and boost your final grade.


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We began these narratives on January 3, your first day back after the winter holidays.  You worked in class on your drafts on January 4 and January 6.  A week later, as inclement weather struck, we revisited the assignment.  A week after that, on January 18, you were given another 24-hour extension and another day in class to work.  On the 19th, you spent the entire period annotating and analyzing your story.

Here are the component scores for the assignment (note that you will need your student number to find your row): RE – Invisible Narrative Checklist

Here is a breakdown of how this assignment was graded: RE – Invisible Narrative Guide

Excluding the students who failed to hand in work (and those who handed in work that was miserably incomplete), the class average was a 75% overall.  If completed as instructed and on time, this assignment was also a good way to review for the midterm; the two metacognitive paragraphs you wrote on January 19 were virtually identical in nature to the ones asked of you on the midterm.

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You will receive three graded assignments back during the week of 10/18.  Each of them will be explained in class; a copy of those explanations is below.

Inquiry-Based Vocabulary Quiz: WilsonDailyPrep Word 101-110
You were given partial credit for the regurgitation section.  Misspellings and superfluous words counted against you; this was about pure memorization.  The second section was graded holistically according to the DAMAGES+ overview you were given earlier in the year.  Read that handout again to understand where your response fell in terms of effectiveness.   This quiz was curved; in the future, assignments for which you are given explicit instructions in advance will not be curved simply because most of you failed to read those instructions.  If you are confused about what questions to ask during the next inquiry-based cycle, please see me.

Adversarial #2: 9/30 to 10/12
Load our course gradebook through the Student Portal.  You will see two scores for this assignment: first, the actual grade out of 100 points, and second, the total number of adversarial points earned during the week-plus we worked collaboratively on flash fiction annotations.  Instead of posting your scores on the wall in the classroom, I am testing Infinite Campus’ gradebook as a means of delivery.  This second score does not affect your grade; instead, it simply shows the highest point total earned by one of your peers.  You can compare your total to that benchmark.  If the benchmark is 165 points, as it was in both sections this time around, and you tallied half that number, you know to adjust your approach during the next adversarial.  Remember that you have been given a guide to these collaborative discussions; if you find yourself unable to or uncomfortable with speaking during the period, you can augment your point totals every night.  You are responsible for your performance.

Flash Fiction Annotations
You will receive this assignment back with a simple number: a 25, 12, or 0.  Use the DAMAGES+ handout (find the link above) to compare this score with the scales of effectiveness outlined there.  In general, you did well on this assignment if you emulated our approach in class from previous meetings: Pull out the elements of the narrative, from main characters to conflict, and then identify with highlights or underlining how the author implied each one.  You could have also defined terms, explained connotations, or asked questions about the roughly 55 words you had to read.  Even more generally, if you did poorly, you probably did not focus on this as an exercise in annotation and inference—this despite that being our only focus over the last few weeks.

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These grades are available through the student portal and gradebook.  As mentioned before, your username is your student ID number, and your password is your six-digit birthdate.  Remember to use the DAMAGE+ guide to ascertain your relative effectiveness here.  A score of 50/50 means that both of your self-assessments (essential trait dichotomies and DAMAGES) were completed thoroughly and insightfully according to the directions.  A score of 44/50 means that you did an adequate job, with few or no incomplete entries and some general understanding of yourself as a student and writer.  As the scores drop, they indicate less and less effective responses, which is hard to fathom; after all, you were given several days in class and at home to finish these, and all they require is a little bit of time.  Those of you who scrawled one sentence for your justifications, or who left sections incomplete (e.g., not writing the numbers in the necessary blanks) wasted an opportunity to start the year with an easy A here.  I suppose you illustrated your apathy and indolence, though, which gives me an idea of who you are as a student—just not the idea you likely wanted me to have.

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