Grading Policy

(40%) Major Projects and Essays—All readings in class will serve as the catalyst for various writing assignments and creative projects/interpretations.  Included in this grade are the following:

  • PBA-Independent Research Paper
  • 2 Literary Analyses
  • Précis
  • Insight Paper
  • Creative Project Final (written or visual)

(25%) Reading Responses / Homework—Ladies and gentlemen, I am not one for excuses.  Take care of your job and complete your homework.  All homework will have a direct bearing on the in class assignments.  So, essentially completing your homework makes the class that much easier.  As we have the good fortune of the class website, absence is no excuse for missing homework.

Additionally, you are expected to annotate as or after you read each night.  This is mandatory.  You will learn how to provide some focus to your annotations.  Ultimately, focused annotating prepares you for your reading responses and your formal essays.  I encourage you to print out the Annotating handout! To annotate is to supply with critical or explanatory notes:

  • Identifying lines that resonate with you, confuse you, or make you want to know more
  • Asking questions of general thematic/philosophical value
  • Tracking the development of a theme that may connect to one or more of the philosophical readings or other fiction.

** Merely underlining or highlighting the text will earn you a D, at best.

Reading Respones:

All reading responses should be submitted by midnight the day they are assigned. The only exception: weekend responses are due by Sunday night (midnight).

We use our class forums, so all reading responses will be submitted through your class forum as part of a discussion thread.  Nevertheless, you are to print out your response and bring it to class the next day for class discussion.  It should be placed in the reading response section of your binder.  All responses should include class heading and a title. Typically, you will be assigned 2-3 responses per week.  While some reading responses will require creative and/or more personalized/internalized approaches to the literature, most require specific analysis of devices/elements.  Here, students are expected to master the concept of literary analysis and demonstrate philosophical control.  These guided responses should be critical and/or analytical in nature…NOT SUMMARY.  Mere summary will result in little (half credit max) to no credit.

Further, your reading responses will always be relevant to class discussions and I expect that they contribute to your classroom participation. Think of the reading responses as the vehicle for the ideas that you will share with the class via small group or whole group discussion.  Your ideas are of extraordinary value to me, thus your reading journal is of extraordinary value!!! Reading responses are assessed based upon the following:

  • Engagement with the reading demonstrating analytical thought
  • Understanding of the reading demonstrating critical and/or analytical thought
  • Complexity of response
  • Use of quotations*
  • Reference to other student responses*
  • Completeness
  • Organization

*I will always let you know in advance if you are required to quote and/or refer to a peer’s response in the discussion thread.

Your reading responses are a critical part of the overall grade in this class, so ensure that they meet ALL of the above critieria! 


(10%) Tests/Quizzes—Book quizzes often at the beginning of class.

(25%) Course Participation/Attendance

Course participation grades are not automatic. They are based on oral contributions to the collective learning experience of the class as a whole in terms of asking pertinent questions, making insightful observations, and offering other meaningful expressions of interest in the material that help encourage learning. I expect your comments to reflect control of the text so cite the text during discussion.  Failure to do so demonstrates little textual control and sparks other concerns.  Finally, in addition to meeting the above criteria, students who do well in this category listen attentively to others during discussions.  Thus, their contributions to our discussion not only reflect control of the text but also refer to prior points made during discussion.  I begin by assuming a C for each student’s course participation grade and move from there. Know this, it is possible to talk a lot in class and receive a low grade for course participation.

While I want you to aim for more than an A in this class (that will make more sense later), I understand the pragmatic nature of grades.  So, to earn an A, do the following:

  • Rarely ever miss class!
  • Rarely, and I mean rarely, ever get to class late! (I will often give a quiz at the beginning of morning classes…arriving late means a big ole zero for that quiz)
  • Maintain a complete, organized, and, most importantly, thoughtful reading responses.
  • Read AND annotate EVERY text. (I collect every text and assess your annotations)
  • Contribute meaningfully to classroom discussions…let your voice be heard…Yawp!
  • Work diligently and meticulously on all essays.  Make meaningful use of the writing process. Meet the writing expectations of the course.
  • Produce creative work that you would be proud to share with the entire class!
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