This course uses a form of grading called contract grading. There are no points or letter grades in this course, aside from the final letter grade you earn at the end.

No grades does not mean “no expectations,” nor does it mean no feedback. I will offer thorough qualitative feedback on assignments and journal writing throughout the semester. Of course, the university requires me to enter a final grade for you at the end of the course, and this will be determined by the criteria below:

To Pass

I expect you to attend class regularly (no more than 3 absences for the semester)[1], submit a Mid-Term and Final Reflection that honestly evaluate your learning, and complete at least 80% of the other assigned work (journals, practicum assignments, etc.). You should also participate in class discussions at least a few times in the semester.

To Earn a B

You will earn a B in the class if you complete all of the work in the class (including the reading) in a timely manner and with thoughtfulness, sincere effort, and attention to detail. This means reading your texts closely and completing all journal entries, participating in discussion regularly, and completing the practicum assignments to the very best of your ability. To earn a B, I expect you to come to class regularly (not missing more than 2 classes in a semester) and to be fully present and engaged in class.

To Earn an A

You will earn an A in the class if you do all of what is required for a B and show excellence in your work. To earn an A, I ask that you put extra effort into your learning process and stretch yourself intellectually. Some features I look for in A work include:

* Strong critical thinking, including the ability to understand and respond to other views

* Persistence in problem solving and pursuit of an idea

* Writing that shows critical reading, careful rereading, and original thought

* Expressing ideas that are uniquely your own, not just repeated from the readings or class discussions

* Taking risks and showing creativity in your learning (trying a new technique or a more challenging approach)

Why Contract Grading?

Traditional grading systems require you to work for “points,” as if learning were a game in which the goal was to get a certain score. And, inevitably, the “score” – not the learning – becomes the ultimate focal point. Contract grading instead redirects your focus on the process of learning, not your grade.

Furthermore, in a class like this that focuses on the process of developing entirely new skills and practices, it makes little sense to evaluate based on a “final product.”

If at any time you’d like to discuss how your academic work is measuring up to these standards, please come visit my office and I’d be glad to discuss it with you.  Your mid-term reflection (and my feedback) will also provide an opportunity for you to assess your own learning and growth.

[1] Attendance requirements listed here are general ones; obviously in case of extreme emergencies, these may be flexible.