The Basics of
Grading for the Semester
(Note: Parts of these "Basics of Grading"
also appear at the beginning of the "Attendance"
web page and in the "Records" web pages. This repetition is to help those who don't look at
our entire web site, or who have trouble adding their X's, to better figure
out their grade at any given time.)
What is the "X's" System?
Attendance and Weekly Papers are based on an "X's System" of
100 X's, total, for attendance and weekly papers. You usually get one or two
X's for each attendance and each homework assignment. A "C" in the course
means you've earned at least 70 X's; a "B" means you've earned at least 80
X's; an "A" means you've earned at least 90 X's.
It also may help you to remember that this course is a four-credit class
(not the normal three credits), and so the workload is 33% more--and
normally expected for a three-credit class. 3-credit college classes usually
expect you to attend and do homework for 9 hrs./wk. for an "A."
However, 4-credit classes usually expect you to attend and do homework for
12 hrs./wk. for an "A." In regard to attendance specifically, in this
class, the expected time
spent is the same as four 50-min. classes, or 200 minutes per week.
The grading for the semester is
based on 100 X's (100 points or 100%) being equal to an A+. The X's you
can earn are divided as follows:
About 55 X's (very roughly, depending
on the semester) are for weekly homework papers (part of which
includes a Final Paper worth 9 X's).
About 20-25 X's (very roughly, depending on the semester)
are for attendance on D2L
The rest--roughly 10-15 X's--is attendance
in real or online time at special events or meetings.
Extra Credit X's also are allowed. (See below.)
Participation, attitude, attention, and hard work can lower or slightly raise
final grade for the course
At least half of all the X's/points you
earn--for whatever grade you earn--must come from the regularly assigned
homework and attendance. In other words, you must complete at least half of
the expected assignments for your grade, with extra credit only being able
to substitute for the other half.
earn X's by completing the work. In attendance, an "X" (or a "V")
is about 100 min. of work. The same is true for extra credit - about
min. of work per X. (In weekly homework, most assignments are worth 1 X
each, with a few being equal to 2 X's.) By the end of the term, your
total X's for attendance, extra credit, and homework will determine your grade as follows:
100 (or more) X's = A+
90-99 X's = A
80-89 X's = B
70-79 X's = C
60-69 X's = D
0-59 X's = F
method of doing well in this class is to earn as many X's as you can, depending
on what grade you want. 2009 was the first year in which I
have started using this system in online classes. However, I have used
this X's system of grading since 2006 in writing classes on campus, and
about 90-95% of students - once they get used to it - report by the end of
the term that they think it is a great system, one of the clearest and most
fair they have ever used, and they recommend I use it with future classes.
How to Estimate Your Grade
It might help you to remember that you need at least 90% of the
X's for an "A." If you have about 3/4ths of the X's and 1/4th 0's, you would
earn a "C." If you'd like more detail, here are three ways to know your grade by
counting your X's and 0's:
EASY WAY. Every week or two, be sure you earn this many X's:
Earn at least three out of every five possible X's for a "D."
Earn three out of every four possible X's for a "C."
Earn at least four out of every five possible X's for a "B."
Earn at least nine out of every ten possible X's for an "A."
Simply look at the X's on the attendance and weekly papers
records, see how many are possible every week or two of three, and
then count each one you have earned. (If this is confusing to you, do some
counting; then email me, Richard, with the results and tell me where/how you
MEDIUM-DIFFICULT WAY. At any point in the semester, you can count how many
X's and 0's you have on the records. Then use this simple chart:
With half X's & half 0's,
you so far have an "F."
(For example, 20 X's & 20 0's would be an "F.")
With 2/3rds X's
and 1/3rd 0's, you so far have a "D+."
(E.g., 22 X's and 11 0's would be, so far,
X's and 1/5th 0's, you so far have a "B-."
(E.g., 20 X's and 5 0's would be, so far, a
With 9/10ths X's and
1/10th 0's, you so far have an "A."
(E.g., 45 X's and 5 0's would be, at the time,
LONGER, MORE DETAILED WAY. You
can count your X's now, and also estimate the
X's you expect to get; then use this overall
chart to determine your grade:
90-100 X's = A for the course
80-89 X's = B for the course
70-79 X's = C for the course
60-69 X's = D for the course
59 or lower X's = F for the
Basically, you can build your own grade by how many X's you earn.
I have been using this method in online literature classes since 2009, and
the great majority of students have recommended that I keep using this
system as a way of grading because it is more fair and clearer.
Note: Remember that this is a four-credit
(not just the normal three credits). And so the workload is 33% more than is
normally expected for a three-credit class. This applies to the total time
you spend both in attendance and homework. For attendance, the expected time
spent is the same as four 50-min. classes, or 200 minutes per week. In
addition, if you are a significantly slower-than-average reader, the course
may take even more time.
Homework (Weekly Papers) Grade:
This portion of your grade will be determined by how many of your weekly,
rough-draft, non-graded assignments you turn in. Most assignments are worth one
X, a few of them two X's. The most you can get is 55 X's. You cannot
be more than one week late with homework assignments (and Drafts I and II of
your term paper cannot be late at all). The X's you earn will be added to
the total X's you earn for the semester.
Attendance in D2L
Discussions: 35 X's
There are regular, almost weekly messages that must be done on
D2L. These messages require a minimum of 200+ words each, and you must write
up to four of them per week--for a total of up to 800+ words per week.
In these messages, you give your own thoughts and opinions about the readings
and literature, and you interact with others in your class.
For more details and for instructions, see our class's D2L
Special Events: 10-12 X's
There are four "special events." You may complete
them online or in person:
A. Introduction to the course, two options.
(1) Write a thorough summary of this website.
(2) OR attend an on-campus introduction in the first week. (see "Home" page for
date and location).
- Worth 1 X.
B. Plays, two options.
(1) Watch and write about specific assigned literary plays on video.
(2) OR attend two professional/collegiate plays in person (one of which will be
the school play at IHCC.)
- Worth 3-4 X's per play
C. Visual interfaces with literature, three
(1) Read an additional graphic novel.
(2) OR visit online art museum collections related to literature, or visit
websites about literary authors.
(3) OR join me (Richard Jewell) for a short evening at the Minneapolis Institute
of Arts (MIA), where a docent will lead us on a "literary tour" of paintings and
- Worth 3 X's.
Make Ups and Extra Credit
make up missed attendance and missed homework by doing it late for extra
credit and/or by replacing it with additional extra work. All make ups and
extra credit are counted as additional attendance. For more details, see the
"Attendance" page in this website.
Satisfactory Academic Progress
in This Class
Please note that you will be dropped from
the class if you miss more than three weeks of homework and
attendance. If you are dropped from the class for nonparticipation after
three weeks, you will not be able to access the class D2L page anymore.
IHCC will automatically give you an "FN" on your grade transcript. Before
the beginning of Week 14 of classes, you may change this to a "W"
(Withdraw). If you do not change it by then, IHCC will automatically give
you an "F" for the class.
Taking a "W" or an "F" for the class can
create problems for you, too. Here is IHCC's "Satisfactory
Academic Progress Policy": As of summer
2007, all Inver Hills students must maintain a
67% completion rate for all credits
attempted. This is in addition to the existing requirement that students
earn a cumulative Grade Point Average of 2.0 or above. You can drop a
class in the first week, and this does not affect your completion rate.
However, if you withdraw after that, fail to finish the course, or take an
"I" (Incomplete), this will affect your completion rate and also may
affect your eligibility for financial assistance. Visit, call, or
email IHCC Enrollment Services if you have further questions about this