You will be graded in three ways in this class. Each
type of grade is weighted as follows:
Tests/Jeopardy (1st sem.) 30%
Tests/Critical Responses (2nd sem.) 30%
Participation involves actively engaging in
class and small group discussions, coming to class prepared, working equally
within your small groups/teams, and reading/studying the class material on
Class Work includes speech preparation and
practice, interview preparation and practice, essay preparation and
practice, completing workbooks, completing small class assignments based on
the readings, and completing team projects. (Psssst! For all you
seniors out there getting ready to apply to colleges, the speech preparation
we do will be invaluable when it comes time to write those annoying personal
statements and other essays.)
Tests/Jeopardy are meant to see how well you’re
learning the material (and yes, you’ll need to read the material more than
once to do well on the tests). You are *not* expected to get 100% on these
tests, especially at the beginning of the year; however, I do expect your
test scores to increase from quarter to quarter, and I will be factoring
this “increase” into your 2nd and 3rd quarter grades.
The *good* thing about these tests is that they are graded on a
curve—whomever gets the highest score gets “100%” for that test, and
everyone else’s grade is determined from this highest score. Tests will be
given on the Decathlon material during quarters 1, 2, and 3.
Critical Responses will only occur during the
last part of 3rd quarter and all of 4th quarter.
These will be written responses (and perhaps some oral response…. we’ll
see…) to the films and other texts we encounter during this time. I expect
that as the year draws to a close that your critical responses will improve
both in terms of content (how well you are able to analyze a text) and in
form (how well you communicate your thoughts).
How can I get a
guaranteed A? (for the first 3 quarters)
Despite the above breakdown of grades, there are two
ways you can get a “guaranteed” A in this class.
If you can secure yourself a place on the Academic Decathlon team,
you will earn an A in this class.* Whether you choose to compete
on the team or not doesn’t matter (although, quite honestly, if you’re
working this hard and are that brilliant, why wouldn’t you be on the
team?). As long as your test scores are good enough to beat out other
people (including some sophomores who aren’t in this class), you will get an
A. (*Note to team members: This means you need to stay competitive in
class to keep your A. If you get on the competing Decathon team by Winter
Break, that doesn’t guarantee that you’ll get an A unless your test scores
If your test scores improve by 35% or more from first quarter to
second quarter, you will earn an A for first semester. (That is like
going from an average of 450/1000 on your tests to 610/1000.) If your
test scores improve by 30% or more from second quarter to third quarter, you
will earn an A for third quarter. (Side note: Don’t purposely “fail”
your tests first quarter to accomplish this. I cannot justify giving a
student a D or F first quarter and then an A at the semester.)
Late Work Policy
All assignments are to be finished and
turned in on the date due when collected during class.
While our schedule and due dates may be fluctuating depending on the needs
of the class, when an assignment has a specific due date, it must be in.
When you are absent it is your
responsibility to bring me a note from a parent or guardian explaining why
you were absent. IF I DO NOT
SEE A NOTE, your absence is unexcused. If you know ahead of time that
you will be absent for several days in a row, please notify me so I can give
you assignments you might miss. You lose the right to make up work if you
are absent due to cuts, an unexcused reason, or in-school/out-of-school
suspensions (unless you make arrangements with me before your suspension).
School Functions, Sign-Out
Please adhere to the 5 day
notice rule about signing out for field trips and other activities.
If you are
interested in attending a school function (like a football game or a
play), DO NOT BUY YOUR TICKET and then expect to be signed out of this
class. Before I even consider signing you out, you must have a minimum
70% C. Also, excessive numbers of sign-outs will not be allowed no matter
how good your grades are.
that missing class for a school function is not an excuse for turning an
assignment in late or missing a test or quiz. Make arrangements to see me
before you go to turn in your work, pick up work, or take tests/quizzes
you might miss.
At any point, I reserve
the right to not sign you out. Academics come first.