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Today is another day of firsts. At the lab session, I’ll do my first quiz, then we’ll do our first experiments (we’ll discover the properties of air), and I’ll conclude by apologizing to the T.A. for turning in my first homework a week late.

February 1, 2010

Today is another day of firsts. At the lab session, I’ll do my first quiz, then we’ll do our first experiments (we’ll discover the properties of air), and I’ll conclude by apologizing to the T.A. for turning in my first homework a week late.

Each lab is worth 50 points (10 for attendance, 10 for the quiz, and 30 for the assignment) with all lab work combined counting for 20% of the final grade. This, along with another 20% each for the midterm and for the homework, 30% for the final exam, and 10% for the in-class assignments will be the basis of my final grade. It is, indeed, a case of continuous assessment and markedly different from my own practice of grading via mid-term (40%), final (40%) and participation (20%). I tell my students that I don’t own a calculator (which was true until half an hour ago when I bought a shiny new one that, I’m pretty sure, is more intelligent than I am), and that I’m interested in how they finish not how they begin (many students, despite my best efforts, fail to grasp what I mean by a 1000 word essay, but if they take note of my comments, and improve in the final, I more or less, throw out the score on the midterm -- if they do not heed me they get the grade they deserve), but that kind of semi-laissez faire attitude wouldn’t cut it in a science class and, at least in my case, a jolly good thing too!

I’m pinning my hopes for a decent grade on the sheer amassing of points for things like attendance, making a decent stab at the tests and homework assignments, and not blowing up the lab…okay, you don’t really get points for that, but you do earn points for leaving the lab nice and clean. But what is, for me, a “decent grade?” I got a B on the last venture into mathscienceland, a grad stats course about fifteen years ago, so I’ll set that as my goal, but I won’t consider it a failure if all I manage is a more humble C. But given yesterday’s mortal eco-sin (I took my sons to a monster truck show) I should perhaps have already been failed tout court. I have enough Catholic left in me to see the course as penance -- perhaps that could be my motivation? To the books!


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