Scoring

There are no points in this class. Every scored assignment will be measured on either a Strong / Satisfactory / Weak scale or a Credit / No credit scale, depending on the assignment.

Why This Structure?

Research shows that grades promote extrinsic motivation instead of intrinsic motivation. This means, that for many students, the focus of a class is about earning X number of points over the joy of learning and thoroughly understanding the material. With this scoring system, I am hoping to place focus on practicing scientific skills and improving on those skills from the start of the semester to the end.

Related, when the focus is on earning points, the willingness to dive into challenging assignments diminishes. The risk of failure is too high. Stress increases. This is not a good learning environment for anyone (the instructor or the student). By getting rid of points and having a more general “student meets expectations / student is almost there / student and instructor need to address issues” paired with revision of assignments, I am hoping student stress will decrease and that students might see the purpose and benefit of the work being completed.

It is also important to recognize that students enter this class with a wide range of background experiences in science. A graduating NatSci student may have previously taken genetics, biochemistry, and physiology, whereas a mid-level Social Science student may have taken BioSci 161. This grading system and course structure is meant to give equal opportunities for those students to walk out at the end of the semester having improved their science skills.

Strong / Satisfactory / Weak

Exams

The second and subsequent versions of the Exam assignment will be scored, and instructors will provide feedback on responses. The Exam can be revised and resubmitted for regrading. The highest score earned will be the final score (i.e., grades are not averaged together).

Exam questions will be scored using the following rubric:

Strong Satisfactory Weak
Claim Fully correct Partially correct Incorrect
Evidence (# of total evidence pieces depends on question)

Most evidence is correct (~0-1 incorrect)

  • Includes direct evidence
  • Excludes indirect evidence

Some evidence is correct

( ~2-4 incorrect)

Most evidence incorrect
Reasoning Concise
Fully correct linking between claim and evidence

Not concise but fully correct linking

OR

Concise but only partially correct linking

Not concise and only partially correct linking

OR

Fully incorrect linking

End of Semester Reflection

The End of Semester Reflection is going to ask you to look back on your learning growth during the course. How did you improve on the skills we practiced? How has your neuroscience knowledge grown? How have your study techniques changed? What have you learned about yourself as a learner? How will all this help you as you move forward in your academic and professional career?

This assignment is due the last week of class. Because of this deadline, it cannot be revised and resubmitted. However, if you would like to have us review the assignment prior to the deadline, you can submit it a week early. The End of Semester Reflection will be scored on the following rubric:

Strong Satisfactory Weak
Effort Thoughtful assessment of student work throughout the semester

Thoughtful assessment but not evidence to support assessment of work

OR

Evidence to support assessment of work but lack of effort put into self-assessment

Lack of effort or thoughtfulness put into to self-assessment
Evidence Evidence to support assessment of student work No evidence to support assessment of work
Score on Intro Reflection Credit Credit No Credit

Credit / No Credit

Assignments will be graded as “Credit” if they are submitted and show effort and completeness.

Assignments will be graded as “No Credit” if they are not submitted or do not show effort and completeness.

Exam Version 1 Submission

Each student will need to submit an initial individual version of their exam in Teams before the Flipgrid discussion.

Exam Flipgrid Post

Each student will need to post a Flipgrid discussion of their responses to the Reasoning sections for the four questions on the exam.

Exam Reflections

Before and after completing the Exam, each student will need to submit a reflection of their preparation or performance.

Weekly Unit Assignments

Problem sets and synthesis questions will not be scored as part of the required final grade. However, completing and submitting at least 7/8 of each assignment type will boost a student’s final grade by 0.5 GPA points (meaning a 3.5 would become a 4.0).

Bonus Work

Bonus work can add 0.5 to final grade point

Receive credit on at least 85% of

  • Problem set assignments
  • Synthesis question assignments

Exam Scoring Details

Exams

Each Exam consists of 4 questions.

Each question has 3 parts (Claim, Evidence, Reasoning), and each part will be scored using the rubric above.

To determine the score of each question

A Strong response consist of

  • 3 strong parts

A Satisfactory response consists of

  • No more than 1 weak part

A Weak response consists of

  • 2 or more weak parts

To determine the score of each Exam

Each Exam has 4 questions

A Strong Exam consists of

  • At least 3 strong responses and no weak responses

A Satisfactory Exam consists of

  • No more than 1 weak response

A Weak Exam consists of

  • 2 or more weak responses

Final Grades

IMPORTANT REMINDER: The Exams can be revised after receiving feedback from the instructors (preferably only one time, but if needed second submissions are possible). Given the revision process (after discussion with classmates and after instructor feedback), receiving Satisfactory or Strong scores on these assignments is possible for every student.

I recognize these expectations do not encompass every combination of grades. This grading system is not meant to be stressful but to allow opportunities for success to a wide range of students. The scores on Exams and End of Semester Reflection are critical. The other points are ‘did you do the work?’. For example, the cooperative portion of the exam only succeeds if everyone participates in the Flipgrid discussion, so I would expect a 4.0 or 3.5 student to have completed that work.

There is a Bonus Points section above as well.

Minimum expectations for a 4.0

  • 4 strong Exams (see above for description of “strong”)
  • Strong End of Semester Reflection
  • Credit on 8/8 of the following: 4 Version 1 Exam submissions and 4 Flipgrid posts
  • Credit on 7/9 of the following: 8 Exam Reflections and 1 Introduction Unit
  • OR minimum expectations for a 3.5 plus Bonus Work

Minimum expectations for a 3.5

  • 3 strong Exams and 1 satisfactory
  • Strong End of Semester Reflection
  • Credit on 8/8 of the following: 4 Version 1 Exam submissions and 4 Flipgrid posts
  • Credit on 7/9 of the following: 8 Exam Reflections and 1 Introduction Unit
  • OR minimum expectations for a 3.0 plus Bonus Work

Minimum expectations for a 3.0

  • 2 strong Exams and 2 satisfactory
  • Satisfactory End of Semester Reflection
  • Credit on 7/8 of the following: 4 Version 1 Exam submissions and 4 Flipgrid posts
  • Credit on 6/9 of the following: 8 Exam Reflections and 1 Introduction Unit
  • OR minimum expectations for a 2.5 plus Bonus Work

Minimum expectations for a 2.5

  • 1 strong Exams and 3 satisfactory
  • Satisfactory End of Semester Reflection
  • Credit on 6/8 of the following: 4 Version 1 Exam submissions and 4 Flipgrid posts
  • Credit on 5/9 of the following: 8 Exam Reflections and 1 Introduction Unit
  • OR minimum expectations for a 2.0 plus Bonus Work

Minimum expectations for a 2.0

  • 4 satisfactory Exams
  • Satisfactory End of Semester Reflection
  • Credit on 5/8 of the following: 4 Version 1 Exam submissions and 4 Flipgrid posts
  • Credit on 4/9 of the following: 8 Exam Reflections and 1 Introduction Unit
  • OR minimum expectations for a 1.5 plus Bonus Work

Minimum expectations for a 1.5

  • No more than 1 weak Exam
  • Satisfactory End of Semester Reflection
  • Credit on 4/8 of the following: 4 Version 1 Exam submissions and 4 Flipgrid posts
  • Credit on 3/9 of the following: 8 Exam Reflections and 1 Introduction Unit
  • OR minimum expectations for a 1.0 plus Bonus Work

Minimum expectations for a 1.0

  • 2 weak Exams
  • Satisfactory End of Semester Reflection
  • Credit on 3/8 of the following: 4 Version 1 Exam submissions and 4 Flipgrid posts
  • Credit on 2/9 of the following: 8 Exam Reflections and 1 Introduction Unit

If student has more than 2 weak Exams, the bonus work cannot bump grade to a 1.0.

Viewing Grades

Because of the unusual grading method used in the class, grades are more challenging to maintain in our current software systems. A gradebook will be set up in D2L to keep track of all scored assignments, however, it will be up to the student to refer to the final grading scale to track progress in the course.

Any grading questions or concerns should be addressed as soon as possible. At most, questions about grades should be submitted within one week of the grade being posted to D2L.

Work Submission Policy

Since the answer videos open immediately after the problem set and synthesis question due dates, late work cannot be accepted. Additionally, the problem sets and synthesis questions are not required assignments, and for the 0.5 GPA grade bonus, only 7/8 of each assignment must be completed and submitted to accommodate the occasional issue that arises.

However, if you need flexibility in the semester, particularly during an Exam week, please contact me.

What should I do in case of…

Illness or Injury

Message me if you will be missing a deadline. Preferably, contact me prior to the deadline, but if that is not possible, as soon as you can.

Bereavement due to death in the family or similar tragedy

Message me if you will be missing a deadline. Preferably, contact me prior to the deadline, but if that is not possible, as soon as you can. Also, make sure to request a grief absence from the university. In order to request a grief absence, you must fill out the Grief Absence Request Form within 7 days of the event and provide the requested documentation. All of your instructors will be informed about your excused absence days.

Chronic health issues, physical disabilities, and learning disabilities

If you experience severe and chronic health issues, physical disabilities, or learning challenges that prevent you from completing assignments by the deadlines, we can attempt to devise a plan to help support you.

Please provide me with a VISA issued by the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities (RCPD). I am extremely willing and able to provide accommodations for students with such conditions, but a VISA is required in order to do so. Information regarding a VISA is kept confidential, and you will not be asked to provide personal health information related to the diagnosis. Students eligible for a VISA are highly encouraged to obtain one and provide it to me as soon as possible. If you have applied for a VISA but it has not been issued, please inform me, and send me the name of your RCPD advisor.