Grading Contract

Department/college non-negotiables:

On missed hours: the English department says you can fail after missing more than 4 hours; the college handbook says 15% (or 6 hours)

On plagiarism: Any plagiarized papers will result in failing the class.

Lateness/leaving early: 4 tardies or early leaves (within 15 minutes of class starting or ending) = 2 hours of class absence. If you arrive more than 15 minutes late to class, that time will be deducted from your overall allowed absences.

        For example: if you show up to class 10 minutes late, three times over the course of the semester, there will be no penalty. If you show up to class 10 minutes late four times or leave 10 minutes late four times, it will count as an entire missed class. If you arrive an hour late to class (or leave class an hour early), that will count as a full hour of missed class time.

You are guaranteed a B if you:[1]

  1. attend class regularly -  missing no more than 6 hours of class time;
  2. meet due dates and writing criteria (word count, addressing prompt, etc.) for all major assignments;
  3. participate in all in-class activities and exercises;
  4. complete all informal low-stakes writing assignments (double-entry journals, etc.);
  5. give thoughtful peer feedback during class workshops and editing sessions, and work faithfully with your group on other collaborative tasks (peer editing, etc.);
  6. sustain effort and investment on each draft of all papers;
  7. make substantive revisions when the assignment is to revise—extending or changing the thinking or organization—not just editing or touching up;
  8. copy-edit all final revisions of main assignments until they conform to the conventions of edited, revised English;
  9. attend conferences with the teacher to discuss drafts;
  10. submit your final completed portfolio;

Thus you earn the grade of B entirely on the basis of what you do—on your conscientious effort and participation, and your willingness to revise your work. Grades higher than B, however, mean that you submit particularly excellent written work.  A-level work will be reflected in your portfolio: if you revise final drafts several times so that they are nearly without error, have thoughtful reflective pieces, and meet the portfolio criteria for excellent work, then you can get an A in the course.

About grades lower than B 

I hope no one will aim for these grades. The quickest way to a C, D, or F is to miss classes and show up without assignments. This much is non-negotiable: you are not eligible even for a D if you have missed more than 6 class meetings and completed any less than 90% of the assignments. And you can't just turn in all the late work at the end. If you are missing classes and behind in work, please stay in touch with me about your chances of passing the course.


[1] This grading contract is only slightly modified from Peter Elbow & Jane Danielewicz’s article “A Unilaterial Grading Contract to Improve Learning and Teaching,” English Department Faculty Publication Series, Paper 3, 2008.