Assignments and Grading

Grading Standards:

I follow the College of Wooster guidelines for grading.  “A” grades reflect excellent work, “B” grades very good work, “C” grades adequate work, and “D” minimal work.  Grades of “F” are reserved for work that is unsatisfactory in its content, relationship to the assignment, and/or degree of effort.  Plagiarism will always result in a failing grade.

Grade Components:

Professionalism  (20%):

Your active participation in class activities and discussion are crucial to the success of the course.  You are expected to come to class fully prepared to discuss the day’s readings; this includes bringing copies of your reading assignments so that you can support your ideas with specific examples, as well as your notes and questions on the material.  You will be graded on the quality of your contributions to our class discussions.  You cannot earn an excellent grade (A) in a discussion-based class like this one if you do not regularly contribute to our discussions.  Simply attending class without any further involvement in our discussions will result in a participation grade of “C” or “Satisfactory.”

Quizzes & Classroom Exercises (35%)

To insure that students have the opportunity to demonstrate that they have done the assigned readings, we will have weekly short quizzes (10 questions) on the assigned reading. On the weeks where we are discussing the course texts, these quizzes will be longer.

Book Chapter notes and summaries (15×2, 30%)

For two of the assigned texts, students will prepare chapter-by-chapter summaries of the book. These should include a solid explanatory paragraph of the point of each chapter and how each builds an argument and develops the narrative. Which books you will summarize will depend on which group you are in.

Book Review (15%)

Each student will review a recent scholarly monograph on an aspect of western history. This 500 word review will follow the format historians use when they write for the Journal of American History. Books must be have been published since 2010. Books must be approved in advance. The list of book options can be found here.  Part of the assignment is researching exactly how to write a scholarly book review.