The following paragraphs describe the grading criterion that will be used in this course. Pluses and minuses will be used within a letter grade to distinguish the better performances from the weaker ones.
Fully understands the material covered in class, and in the homework; forms well-constructed arguments with support that is well grounded in the textual material; successfully combines several ideas to move beyond the ideas expressed in class; work is of a consistently high quality.
Understands most material presented in class and in the homework; forms arguments that are supported by textual material, but needs work in some areas; is able to gain new insights based on the discussions in class; work is of moderate to high quality.
Understands much of the material presented in class, but is weak in some areas; can make arguments similar to those given in class; sometimes applies ideas incorrectly or incompletely; needs more practice in some areas for full proficiency in the material; quality of work is moderate or inconsistent.
Has serious difficulty with much of the material from class and the homework; consistently misapplies ideas or fails to complete the assignment, even those that are similar to the ones covered in class; quality of work is inconsistent or poor.
To obtain an A in this course, you will need to do well on both the first and second drafts of the papers, contribute substantially to the in-class discussions, and produce insightful comments on the written homework assignments.
To obtain a B in this course, you will need to make good progress on your first drafts, and be able to correct most of the problems when you turn in your second draft. You will contribute frequently to the in-class discussions, with thoughtful and useful comments. Your homework write-ups will show the effort and consideration you have put into the assignments, though some details will need work. In-class participation may be a significant factor in distinguishing among B-, B and B+.
To obtain a C in the course, you must make some progress in your first drafts, and your second draft should correct at least some of the concerns that occurred in the first draft, though your arguments may still be weak in some areas. You should contribute to the in-class discussions, but may have missed some of the key points in the readings. Your written assignments will lack of focus, but there will be good ideas there.
To obtain a D or F, your first drafts will be weak, and you will have difficulty improving them on the second draft. Your arguments may be unfocused, unsupported, or irrelevant. Your in-class participation will be scattered and inconsistent, and your written assignments will show little care or effort. Turning in assignments late (or not at all), not participating in the in-class discussions, coming to class without having done the readings, or excessive absences from class also can lead to these grades.