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Eng  2 23 5


This page describes the overall grading policies and methods.  If you'd like to get a relatively easy A" in this course, then do all (or almost all) the attendance and weekly homework assignments, and at least a "C" on your term paper.


The Basics of Grading for the Semester
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:

  • 45 X's (or points): weekly homework papers

  • 35 X's (or more): attendance and/or extra credit

  • 20 X's: final paper (up to 20) (A final paper is required to pass the class.)

  • Participation, attitude, attention, hard work--can slightly lower or raise final letter grade

You earn X's by completing the work.  In attendance, an "X" (or a "V") is about 70 min. of work.  The same is true for extra credit - about 70 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 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

Basically, you can determine your grade by how many X's you earn.  The method of doing well in this class is to earn as many X's as you can, depending on what grade you want.  2009 is the first year in which I have started using this system in online classes.  However, I have used this X's system of grading for three years 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. 

If you want to figure out your current grade level or grade average in the course at any given time, use this formula:

  •  Count your total Xs and 0s. Count all X's and 0's in the attendance records and papers records. If you have extra credit, also add it to the total of X's: count it as one X for every 70 min.

  •  "F" average in the class anytime: You have about half X's and half 0's.
    (For example, if you have 10 X's and 10 0's, or 30 X's and 30 0's, that would be an "F" average.)

  • "D" average in the class: You have about two X's for every one 0. 
    (For example, if you have 20 X's and 10 0's, or 40 X's and 20 0's, that would be a "D" average.)

  • C average in the class: You have about three times as many Xs as 0s.
    (For example, 30 Xs and 10 0s, or 60 Xs and 20 0s, would be about a "C" average.)

  •  B average in the class: You have at least four times as many Xs as 0s. 
    (For example, 40 Xs and 10 0s, or 60 Xs and 15 0s, would be a "B" average.)

  • "A" average would mean having at least 9 X's for every 0, or 9/10ths X's.


            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 45 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.               


The grading of the term project/paper is by letter grade.  You MUST turn in a final paper that follows a preponderance (majority) of the requirements in order to pass this course.  If you do not do this, then you receive an "F" for the course, no matter how many points you may otherwise have.  I translate your letter grade into X's or points as follows:

A+ = 20 X's
A   = 19 X's
A- = 18 X's
B+ = 16 X's
B   = 15 X's
B-  = 14 X's
C+ = 12 X's
C   =  11 X's
C- =  10 X's
D+ = 9 X's
D   = 8 X's
D-  = 7 X's
F+ = 6 X's
F   = 5 X's
F- =  4 X's
FF = No Paper Turned In = 0 X's and an F on the final overall grade.

For more details about the final paper, see "Final Project."


Attendance in is very important. Why? Some people think that taking an online course means there is no attendance.  However, there is supposed to be either attendance or more work to replace it, so really, no time is saved in taking an online course (except for commuting time).  In this class, just as much attendance is expected of you as if you were taking the class on campus.  However, the majority of attendance for this class (or all of it, if necessary) is online in bulletin boards (discussion boards) and sometimes in other online activities.  There are about 35 attendance X's to earn -  or more if you want extra credit X's.  Each attendance activity "X" (or "V") is designed to be about the equivalent of 70 minutes long.  Some of you will be able to do some attendances in much less time; others of you - especially if you take more time than most to write or read, or if you like to write or read at a leisurely, careful, or meditative pace - will need to spend more time. 

(Please note: it is okay - sometimes even good and wise - to learn to write and read faster, especially in a course like this that requires large amounts of both reading and writing.  Generally, when people read faster - without skipping sentences - they tend to actually remember the contents better.  And when people write faster, at least in rough-draft writing - as for most of the weekly papers - they tend to get more interesting and varied ideas out.  So please, seriously consider learning to read and write faster in this class.)


This part of the grade generally is based on the average of what you have done for attendance, weekly papers, and the term paper.  If your grade is on the line, it could go down or up because of your participation, amount and quality of your revision on the term paper, and your hard work.  In general, the best thing you can do to assure yourself a good standing in this part of the class activities is, simply, to get a good grade on everything else.  Beyond that, here are some other ways to establish a better standing in this part of the class activities: 

  • (a) Participate very verbally by "talking" actively in the bulletin-board classes, sharing your ideas, responding to others, and asking questions.  It also helps to ask questions at the museum visit and to ask me questions after you've already checked the FAQs pages and still don't know something.  

  • (b) get 1/2 hr. or more of tutoring help from IHCC Writing Center tutors, Smarthinking online tutors, me, or someone else qualified in tutoring writing when you are revising and editing your final project paper,

  • (c) show significant extra effort on assignments--by extra length of writing or, clear for me to see, extra time, 

  • (d) Attend the individual consultation in person or by phone between you and me that is planned as part of this course, or otherwise get help from me when you need it, and 

  • (e) Show respect, kindness, and care for the opinions and feelings of others on the bulletin boards, and

  • (e) demonstrate significant attention to - and good attitude about - learning, to both me and everyone else in our class.  

How can this part of your grade go lower? You can keep quiet; in the bulletin boards, offer few, poor, or overly short or overly simple answers and responses; avoid me, individual tutoring assistance, and the individual consultation; be negative or cynical about learning to other students; leave work unfinished; have poor attendance; resist doing much of anything to revise your final term project; and, especially, earn very low points (X's) on attendance, weekly papers, and your final term project.

The great majority of students who take this course demonstrate good to excellent behavior, the all of those who finish the course also work hard.  I look forward to great behavior and hard work from each of you.


You may make up missed attendance by doing extra writing.  Weekly papers cannot be turned in more than one week late (and Drafts I and II of the term paper cannot be late at all.)  After weekly papers are late, you cannot make them up.  (However, you may still read and write about them, state how long this took, and receive extra credit for the time you spent.)  You also may do a number of extra-credit assignments, write about them, and earn extra credit at the rate of one X per 70 min.  To see how makeup and extra-credit work, please go to "Attendance/Make Up and Extra Credit."

New IHCC "Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy"

NOTE--New 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.  See www.inverhills.edu/Enrollment/CollegePolicies/SatisfactoryAcademic.aspx for the complete policy.

How to Estimate Your Grade


In Weeks 1-10, about 50 Xs are possible (or more with extra credit).  Count your Xs for Weeks 1-10attendance, weekly homework, and extra credit (on attendance sheet), and then determine what grade you have so far:

50+ Xs
/points = A+
45-49 = A
40-44 = B
35-39 = C
30-34 = D (Youll need to start working much harder to pull off a C or higher.)
25-29 = F  (Youre in very bad shape.  Start working a LOT harder, or, if it's not yet past Wk. 14, take a W.)
20-24 = F- (You probably cant catch up.  You probably should take a W before they stop giving them at the end of Wk. 14.)
0-19 = FF (Youre so far behind you cant catch up.  Take a W before they stop giving them at the end of Wk. 14.)


Count all your Xs that you have, and also what you expect to getattendance, weekly homework, graded paper, and extra credit (on attendance sheet), and then determine what grade you expect to get. 

(To estimate your term paper grade, give yourself 19 Xs/points for an A, 15 for a B, and 11 for a C.  As Grading in our website says, You MUST turn in a final paper that follows a preponderance (majority) of the requirements in order to pass this course.  If you do not do this, then you receive an "F" for the course, no matter how many points you may otherwise have.  That means at least a C-.)  If you turn no paper in at all, give yourself 0 Xs/points.)

100+ Xs
/points = A+
90-99 = A
80-89 = B
70-79 = C
60-69 = D (Youll need to start working much harder to pull off a C or higher.)
50-59 = F  (Youre in very bad shape.  Start working a LOT harder.)
40-49 = F- (You probably cant catch up.  Work quadruple hard if you want a passing grade.)
0-39 = FF (Youre so far behind you cant catch up.)

Email me if you are having trouble figuring out how to do this: send me your X's (points) totals and ask me questions about what you don't understand.


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Keeping Track of Your Grade: When I was in my first two years of college, I decided that I could not always count on an "A" in every class, so I would decide in which classes to earn A's and in which to earn B's.  That allowed me to know where I could cut corners and where I couldn't.  But to keep close tabs on my grade, I learned that I needed to understand exactly how I was developing my grade.  Paying closer attention to my grade, week by week, enabled me to understand better how the course was formed, what the teacher expected, and what I was capable of doing to better control my grade.

Updated 25 Aug. 2013



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First date of publication: January 1, 2005.  Graphics redesigned Aug. 1, 2013
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