Grading for CVEN 322, 444, 446
|2 Major Quizzes||See syllabus||60%|
|Final Exam||As per university||30%|
Grading for CVEN 345
|Major Quizzes (2)||See syllabus||50%|
|Final Exam||As per university||25%|
|Team Project||3 or more submissions during the semester||15%|
1) Grading Rubric used in this class
Your exams are graded on the assumption that you probably really did know what was going on – that you weren’t really ignorant, but that you just missed something or made a math error, and basically knew how to work the problem. HOWEVER, if I return your graded exam paper and 1 minute later after you see it you are up at my desk handing me the paper, pointing to a big -5 circled in red and saying “What’s that for? What’s wrong with that? That looks right to me.” then I realize my original assumption was incorrect. You really had no idea how to work the problem. My assumption that you could work the problem was wrong, and you owe me more points. So please be advised that you would be wise to take your graded exam home and study it very carefully, and compare it with the posted solution. Once you fully understand why you lost points and fully understand how to correctly work the problem, THEN bring it back if you still feel it was incorrectly graded. I would also like to suggest that after grading 80 or so similar exams, I am pretty sure what the right answer to the problem was, and that’s not likely what you wrote down and boxed as your final answer.
Please note that this does not apply if you have spent a reasonable amount of time checking over your exam. If, after a reasonable time of study and comparing it with the posted solution, you are still unable to work the problem, I will be more than happy to show you how, for free. No points deducted. You may also find that I did indeed miss something on your paper, and I owe you points. Believe me, if I cheated you I will happily give you back any points you deserve. I have no use for them. They just collect dust in the closet.
Note that sometimes your exams are first pre-graded by my teaching associate to show me where you went astray. We sit down first and I give them a key with a complete list of every mistake you could possibly make and the points to be deducted for each one. They then go through and mark where you deviated from the key. They also mark errors which I thought were impossible to make, but which you made anyway, for my further consideration. I then go back through and verify the grading.
I try and get your exams back to you in a timely manner, but trying to figure out what you are doing, and fairly evaluating your work takes time. One thing I always do is develop a detailed point deduction sheet for every problem, which is given to anyone else involved in the grading process (TAs, graders, etc.). That way even if a week has passed before I got to your paper, everyone knows exactly how many points that error was worth. See grading example here. That should show you how complex even a simple problem can get, and why it takes so long to get them back to you. Sometimes I get the comment that “You took off 10 points on my paper for using the wrong yield stress, and only took 5 off of my friend’s paper”. True, but you used the wrong grade of steel and the wrong allowed stress for that steel, i.e. wrong steel and wrong stress, thus -10 points. Your friend on the other hand used the correct A242 steel in which Fy is sensitive to the flange thickness, but she got the flange thickness wrong, thereby also getting the value of Fy wrong, which was only -5 points. I admit that both papers say Fy wrong, with yours getting -10, and hers -5, but I assure you there is a reason.
2) Rules for submitting exams for re-grading
- First, read (1) above.
- You must submit any exam papers for re-grading within one week or 7 days, whichever comes first. No exceptions. One week should be plenty of time for you to check over your paper.
- On a separate sheet, you must include the correct solution to the problem in question, so I can tell that you at least know what the correct solution was, and how it was found.
- You must also submit, with your entire exam, a written description of why you think your solution is correct, or why you think I took off too many points, or that I added your points incorrectly, or whatever. If you cannot write down why you think the paper is incorrectly graded I will not consider it.
- It is OK to claim that “You took 3 points off of my paper, and only took 1 point off my friend’s paper, and we both made exactly the same mistake.” However, I won’t begin to consider that without proof. If you feel that is the case you must submit a copy of your friend’s paper or I will not consider your claim. If I indeed missed taking the 2 point error off of their paper, that will in no way entitle you to more points. Nor will I go back and take off the 2 point error I missed in grading your friend’s paper. However, if indeed you lost 3 points where the key says that error was a 1 point error, I will correct your grade.
- “How can you know how many points you took off of other student’s exams with 220 people in the class?” Because every time I first encounter an error on an exam, I make a note on a copy of the quiz of how many points to deduct. I then know exactly how many points to deduct from then on. See example here.
- Finally, email a copy of your quiz and plea papers together to your GRADER listed on the syllabus for this course, not the Teaching Associate. Do not put it in the “homework submit” folder.
3) Questions Regarding Making Up Excused Exams
If you plan on missing, or have already missed a recent exam due to an excused absence, you must contact me immediately by email at firstname.lastname@example.org stating what exam you missed, or plan to miss. Otherwise I will assume that you do not plan on taking the make-up, and you will get a zero on that exam.
As you probably know, the definition of an excused absence in my classes is wider than the official University definition. If you feel you should be excused, simply submit your request and I will let you know. I think they should add interviewing for a co-op position or a job, death of a close friend, etc.
You must email me with all of the following information no later then three days after the original exam was administered. Thus if the quiz was given on Wednesday, your email request to take a make-up must be dated no later than Saturday midnight, email me with
What class you missed
Your email address
Your telephone number
The subject line MUST read as follows: CVENXXX makeup exam, which quiz, and your name where XXX = the course number. For example: CVEN446 exam B Joe Josephson
The reason for this is I get hundreds of spam messages a day and I just won’t notice your email unless the subject line shows up exactly as above.
I will then compile these emails into a single list and distribute it to everyone needing to take the make-up. You will be responsible as a group for picking a time we can meet for the make-up. Failure to take the makeup will result in a grade of zero for the exam. The makeup exam will be given as soon as possible after the original exam, usually the next day. Sorry, but getting extra time to study for the exam is not fair to the other students.
It is 100% your responsibility to inform me that you need a make-up exam. Many people miss the exam because they are dropping out of school or out of this class, and I am simply unable to try and track you down at inaccurate telephone numbers to ask why you missed the exam and if you want a make-up. It is your responsibility to contact me as listed above.
Student questions from the past:
“I was just wondering what the protocol is for the make-up exam. How do you decide who gets to take it?” If you have a university excused absence, or what I feel is a reasonable excuse, I will consider letting you take the makeup. See student rules for definition of excused absences. I am usually more flexible than the stated rules, so see me if you have a question on this.
Can I take it tomorrow? No, I will only be giving it once more, and everyone who missed it will have to take it at that same time.
Do you know when that will be? For major exams (Quiz A, B, etc.) I will get with everyone who missed the exam as soon as possible and set a time that everyone can agree ton. Getting to study an extra week for the exam is not fair to the other students. Please note that having another class at that time won’t be a good reason for excluding that time. You already missed my class, so it won’t hurt you to miss someone else’s class to take an important make-up exam.
Is it harder? Yes, it is harder. At least everyone who takes a make-up says so. However, the people who took the regularly scheduled exam always say theirs was harder, so I really don’t know. I do know that there is safety in numbers – i.e. if everyone who took the regularly scheduled exam makes a 20, we know that the prof is the problem and a grade curve is appropriate. However, if two students take a make-up and both make 20, there aren’t enough scores to statistically say who is to blame and the scores cannot be curved.
Can I take it early? No one is ever, under any circumstances, permitted take it early. I tried that once, with a straight A student with whom I would have trusted my life. After the regularly scheduled exam, another student complained that she was the only one in the class who hadn’t been let in on what was on the exam, and had therefore made 40 points below the class average. I confronted the student who took it early and he swore that he had only given it to his roommate, with whom he would have trusted his life not to tell others.
4) Homework, Labs, and Projects
Please note that your homework, projects, and lab papers are GRADED, not corrected. Sometimes we will indeed have time to “correct” your papers, noting all errors. Sometimes we only have time to glance over one or two problems, and see if the final answers look correct, and holistically assign a grade on that basis. Sometimes you won’t get anything but an OK on your paper, denoting that we saw that you did the work, and that you have received full credit for your effort, but we were overwhelmed with grading and didn’t have time to look at it in detail. Regardless, you are responsible for rooting out any errors in the paper, as we merely assign a best estimate of what grade the paper should receive, based on one, or some, or all of the problems submitted. It is your responsibility to insure that you understand the material and that you know how to work all of the problems, whether or not they have been corrected. If you have any doubts, you should check your work with your peers. Sometimes you will make an error on your homework, and we won’t catch it but will still give you full credit. Unfortunately, if you make the same error on a major exam, we will catch it then, since the major exams are graded much more carefully. Sorry, but your plea that we didn’t catch your error on the homework will get you no additional points.
Great care is taken to ensure that your homework and exams are graded correctly, fairly and consistently. However, there may be instances where a mistake has been made. If you feel that this is the case you must submit your work for re-grading within one week after it has been returned to you. Any work submitted after this one week period will not be re-graded. This includes major exams. No exceptions.
Do not throw ANYTHING you do in this class away. You may very well need it later for proof should we miss recording one of your grades. For major projects, DO NOT SUBMIT YOUR ONLY COPY. You MUST either keep a copy of your original work or submit a clean, legible copy for grading, which may or may not be able to be returned before you need it for the next assignment.
“Dr. Lowery: I can’t find my homework? Where is my homework? I know I did it and turned it in. It should look just exactly like Joe’s.”
Yea, it did, but Joe put his name on his. Look in the Homework Return Folder under “N” for Noname, or “N” for Nerd, or “D” for Dummy. Try those. Also try the letters on either side of your last name, since sometimes people return the papers to the wrong slot.
“Dr. Lowery: I found my homework, without a name, under “J”, I don’t know why it was under “J”. Can I resubmit it for full credit?”
Jack – yes, you can. If it already has a grade, simply re-submit it with your next homework. It was under “J” for
5) Course grading scale
Your final grade in this course will be based on the scale below. No “deals” will be made at the end of the semester, i.e. if I make an “A” on the final exam will you give me an “A” in the course? If I pass the final exam will I pass the course? If I make all A’s will you give me a “C”, (that one doesn’t come up too often.) If you have a problem that is affecting your performance in this course, or if you are having problems with the course material, see me immediately for help. If you wait until the end of the semester, it will probably be too late. I also often get requests like “Dr. Lowery, will you please let me study for an extra two weeks after the semester is over and take the final then? I have been under a lot of pressure, and working two jobs, and my mom died and lost her job, and my dad has cancer and my girlfriend is …” Sorry people, but I am not qualified, nor permitted by the University to make such decisions. I am expected by the University to teach you everything I can, in one semester, and then test you to see what you learned under the same time constraints and life conditions as your peers. I will certainly admit that many of you have had more problems in one semester than I have had in a lifetime, and believe it or not, I do sympathize with you. However, short of giving everyone in the class who has any kind of difficulty in their life the same extra time or extra points as you is just not ethical. If you think that you have truly experienced conditions this semester that have negatively impacted your performance for which you need relief, you should contact the Student Counseling Services Office at 845-2700, or the Dean of Engineering Office, Ray James. Such offices are competent to properly judge your problems and are permitted to request that I give you a second exam, or more time, or whatever, and I will gladly comply with their decisions. The University grading scale will be used in this class. Minor relaxing of these standards may be made, but if you make the grades shown below, you are guaranteed no lower than the following letter grades:
90-100 = A; 80-89.999 = B; 70 – 79.999 = C; 60 – 69.999 = D; 0 – 59.999 = F.
- Final Exam: A comprehensive final exam will be given at the University specified date and time (see syllabus for time and date.) It will cover everything covered during the semester.
- Homework, labs, special assignments, pop quizzes, class participation, if given: 10%. All of these are equal in value unless specifically stated otherwise. It is extremely important that you work all assigned problems. The only way to learn the material in this course, and to perform satisfactorily on the exams, is to practice working problems. The importance of working all assigned problems cannot be overemphasized. I get many requests to increase the point value for the homework, since there is admittedly a lot of it, and it requires a major amount of your time. However, in every class I have ever taught there is some bum who begs you to let them copy your homework. You know it, and I know it, and I am unwilling to give them more than 10% credit in this class just because you’re a weenie who can’t say no to a friend. Further, I assign homework so you can practice the things I have taught you in class. Without working the homework, I don’t think there is a chance of your doing well in this class, so you are really getting a lot of credit for working the homework.
Late homework unless due to a university excused absence is worth 1/2.
6) Discussing your exams before they are graded:
From: Distraught Student
Subject: Major Exam
Dear Dr. Lowery,
I was thinking about the test since I left class yesterday and I realized that on the last problem I used the shear diagrams instead of the moment diagrams. Seeing that there were only 4 problems on the test I am pretty sure this will take a substantial chunk out of my test grade and now I am worried about still getting a good grade in the class. Can I please come talk to you about my grade and to show you that I really knew what I was doing?
Sorry, but until I get the exam graded and see how you actually did, I won’t discuss it. I’ve been there too many times before, where students waste an hour crying about how they knew better, and can I cut them some slack, and then leave in despair – and then end up making a 92 on the exam.
Please wait until we know how you actually did on the exam and then I will certainly discuss why I cannot change your grade, unless I change everyone’s grade equally.
7) Scholastic Dishonesty:
The following does not pertain to you. I think that the above article greatly magnifies the number of engineering students willing to jeopardize their continued enrollment at A&M. Most weigh the meager gains potentially available with the likely consequences and make the proper engineering risk/reward decision to abstain. However, no doubt about it, students are stacked in the exam room like sardines, and it is very tempting to glance at someone else’s paper. Just to see what stupid thing they are doing.
Please don’t. Being told you can no longer attend TAMU is bad enough, but it can haunt you long after that. We have one student who two semesters after they graduated was shown to have committed scholastic dishonesty, and the University rescinded their degree. Flat took it back. No questions asked and no legal rebuttal filed.
Now the harder I make it for anyone to cheat, the better. Thus you will find that I give two or more different exams. Sometimes the exams look the same. Sometimes they look identical. But there are always small differences, and unless you can see that their given load is 38 while yours is 83, or that their question hidden in 4 sentences asks for the maximum shear stress while yours asks for bending stress, you will have to answer some very embarrassing questions later on. It also makes such actions much easier to find since the exams are numbered. It also makes it very easy to simply write down your seat number if something looks fishy during the exam, and to check it out later. I know I have personally looked over a single exam three or four times when grading, when a student appeared to be copying. I compared it in detail with the numbered exam near them. I found every miniscule mistake on every single problem, and made sure that no stone was left unturned. Did I find anything I could prove? No, although there were a couple of fishy things there like an answer for which no calculations were shown, but no. Still, I did indeed pick up 10 or so points that I probably would have missed had I not been rooting around in their work.
You don’t need that kind of scrutiny. You really don’t.
8) Waiting until the last minute to do your work
I recently received the following from one of my consulting employees:
I tried to print the charts for the required report on the Washington lawsuit and it printed rows of random characters. I am pretty sure I either have a virus or my printer is going bad. I was able to get a friend to print the charts but I couldn’t get somewhere to print the report in time for your 6:30 flight to Washington for court so I have attached a copy of it to this email. If the lab opens before your flight leaves I will print it off but I am not sure if it will be, so I attached a copy to prove I did it.
Your employee who puts everything off until the last second even though the work was given to me a week ago
Thanks for forwarding the report to my smartphone. Perhaps when I get to Washington I can Xerox the screen and give that to the opposing attorney. Or perhaps I will just throw the phone itself on the table and myself on the mercy of the court and hope for the best.
P.S. I hear they are hiring at Iwaniburger.