Grades and Policies

Last updated 4/28/17 10:01pm



Your final course grade will be based on performance in five major papers. See table 1.

Table 1. Final Course Grades


For each paper, you’ll receive three scores: the first is for your performance in our class blog activities, Laulima discussions, RD (review draft) activities, and tests on readings of announcements and guidelines; the second, for the RD evaluations you’ve submitted; the third, for the quality of your FD (final draft). The first two are writing process (WP) scores. See table 2.

Table 2. Five Major Papers

Use table 3 to determine the grade equivalent for each paper. For example, if your score for paper #4 is 50+50+110=210, the grade equivalent is a B; if your score for paper #1 is 30+40+80=150, the grade is a C.

Table 3. Total Scores & Grades for Each Paper


Use table 4 to determine the letter grade equivalent for the final draft (FD) score, i.e., the score for each paper without the writing process (WP) scores. For example, if you received 50+50+90 in paper #3, the first two scores (50+50) are the WP scores and the second (90) is the FD score. The 90 is the equivalent of a B.

Table 4. Scores & Grades for Final Drafts Only


Scores are awarded on the basis of participation, performance, and improvement in your final drafts and writing process (WP) activities:

Final Drafts (60%) – 60% of your final course grade will be determined by performance and improvement in final drafts (FDs). Improvement is a measure of overall growth in performance from one final draft to the next. An important element is responsiveness to suggestions made by classmates in review drafts (RDs) and me in final drafts (FDs). Be sure to incorporate our suggestions in subsequent drafts, both RDs and FDs. However, if suggestions from peers are obviously misinformed, ignore them.

Review Drafts & Peer Evaluations (40%) – 20% of your final course grade will be based on the quality of your review drafts (total points is 200, with 50 points each for RDs 1-4) and 20% on the quality of the evaluations that you post for classmates’ RDs (total points is 200, with 50 points each for RDs 1-4). Quality will be determined by your application of the Checklist for All Drafts and Checklist for Evaluating Review Drafts (RDs).

Discussions & Quizzes (100 bonus points) – Add up to 100 bonus points to your final course score by completing all discussions and quizzes on time.

  • Discussions (50 points): Missed discussions are factored into your score. For example, if the total number of discussions is ten and you earn the full point for each, your raw score at the end of the semester will be 10. To convert that to a 50-point scale, the total is multiplied by 5. If you participate in all but one of the discussions, your total points would be 9 x 5 = 45.
  • Quizzes (50 points): Errors are factored into your score. For example, if the total number of quizzes is 7 and you score perfect 10s for each, then your raw score total at the end of the semester will be 70. To convert that to a 50-point scale, the total is multiplied by .714 and rounded to the nearest whole number, 50.

The quality of your discussion and quiz scores are an indication of your performance on readings, including guidelines and announcements. In an online class, reading is also the equivalent of attending classes and listening to lectures. Btw, the quizzes are open book and can be taken as often as needed (until the deadline). Only the highest score will be recorded. Thus, their purpose is not to harass you but to serve as a study guide.

Reading “Tests”: Key words are embedded in some of our important guidelines and announcements. Email them to me ( as you encounter them. The message should be empty, with the keyword in the subject line. Submit them even if the deadline is past. These random tests are an indication of how much effort you’re devoting to learning. At the end of the semester, this effort may be taken into consideration if your score is on the borderline between two letter grades.


Final Exam and Course Grade

Paper #5 will also serve as the final exam. The date is posted in the schedule in our class blog. You must complete the exam by midnight on the designated day. Final course grades will be submitted close to the deadline on the day they are due. This date, too, is posted in the class schedule. If you cannot participate in the final exam on the day specified or must have your grade posted prior to the deadline, inform me on or before the first day of instruction — or at the latest, by the start of the second week of instruction.

Criteria for Scoring Final Drafts (FDs): Three Areas

To determine the overall quality of your FDs, I’ll be reviewing them in three different areas: writing process, content, and  mechanics. The results of my review will be emailed to your UH email account as a FD Report. The heart of the first report in an inventory of problems. At this stage in your college career, you are a competent writer, so the problems in the list may not be serious. Still, they detract from the quality of your thoughts. Always remember that your writing, like good grooming, forms a lasting impression on others in college, in your profession, and in life. In a very real sense, you are what you write. Reports and letters that are well written and free of mechanical and stylistic issues will open many doors for you.

Thus, keep this inventory handy and use it to guide your review of all your writing. In future FDs, I may identify additional problems, which I’ll be adding to the list. I’ll be referring to this list when I evaluate your future papers. If you’re gradually reducing or eliminating these problems, I’ll consider it progress and won’t penalize you for them. If you need help in addressing mechanical problems, click on the links provided or see Proofreading and Editing Your Drafts –

I. Writing Process. The emphasis in this area is on your ability to (a) participate in and complete all activities on time, (b) follow the Checklist for All Drafts as well as other guidelines mentioned in the schedule, (c) incorporate suggestions provided by classmates in their review of your RD.

II. Content. The emphasis in this area is on your ability to incorporate all the requirements of the assignment in your paper, including demonstration of specific skills and quotes from readings and class discussions.

III. Mechanics. The emphasis in this area is on your ability to publish, in your class blog, drafts that are relatively error free. This means that review drafts (RDs) and final drafts (FDs) must show signs of extensive revision. Keep in mind that “RD” does not stand for “rough draft.” The rule of thumb is, the better your RD, the more meaningful the feedback you’ll receive from classmates. On the one hand, an RD that’s hastily written and submitted just for the sake of turning something in wastes your classmates’ time since all they’re doing is telling you what you already know, that your draft needs a lot of work. On the other hand, an RD that’s in close to final form and showing signs of extensive revision will generate comments from classmates that will help you to perfect your draft.

Late or Incomplete Work

Click here for the policy on late work.

Ethical Considerations

Failure to observe the following rules may result in a failing score or grade for the assignment or the course:

1. Avoid plagiarism: All work must be original. Borrowed ideas and words must be appropriately cited. Be sure to properly identify the sources for paraphrases and summaries, as well as for direct, indirect, and partial quotes. For further information on this subject, see item H, Academic Dishonesty, under part I, Impermissible Behavior, in the UH Student Conduct Code. Also read the appropriate sections in your freshman composition handbook or class text. Also review KCC library’s webpage on plagiarism.

2. Don’t submit papers from/for other courses: If you plan to use material from a paper written for another course, you must inform me on the day topics are selected. To confirm that you’ve read this document, email the keyword grades to me at by the end of the second day of instruction. The keyword should appear in the subject header.

3. Don’t submit work that has been substantially written or rewritten by another person. All work must be your own. You are encouraged to seek help from official campus tutors. However, do not ask tutors, friends, relatives, instructors, etc. to help you compose the sentences and paragraphs in your paper. Instead, ask them to help you identify and correct the types of errors that your classmates and I have indicated. If you’re not sure about the appropriate level of help, email me.

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