AST 1002: Course Grades
Spring 2003 [Sections 0422 & 0427]Site Map Prof. Cohen Department of Astronomy University of Florida
Last updated March 13, 2003
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This page contains information vital to your success in this course. Read carefully
Contents of Page 1) Course Points 2) Computing Grades 3) "I" Grades 4) SU Option 5) Tracking Grades 6) Grading Policy 7) Extra Help 8) Grievances 9) Dishonesty 10) Missed Classes 11) Attendance 12) Accommodations 13) Commercial Notes 14) See Your Exam Scores
1) Course PointsCourse grades are based on total accumulated points received during entire semester and your attendance record. Good attendance can add up to three bonus points; bad attendance can lower your final course grade. (To determine your course grade, see Computing Your Final Course Letter Grade.)
A. Exam Points
Total Pts. = Highest 3 Scores from Exam #1 to #4 + Exam #5
- Maximum Points Possible: 160 points (assumes lowest score from exams #14 dropped)s
- Final Exam: Exam #5 is equivalent to the final exam
- Final Course Grades: Posted (at end of semester)
(See Computing Final Course Letter Grade below.)
- Makeup Exams: None! See missed exam policy
- Borderline Cases: See Grading Policy. Usually determined by attendance policy.
(This can add from one to three "bonus" points to your total points.)
- Tracking Your Grade: See Tracking Your Grade for an example grade computationB. Bonus Points
In addition to points accumulated from exams, bonus points will be added for good attendance:
Bonus Point Chart Absences 01 days 23 days 45 days Bonus Points Add 3 Points Add 2 Points Add 1 Point
Note: Attendance taken beginning the second week of semester and excludes all examination days.
2) Computing Your Final Course Letter Grade
Here is info on A. Letter Grade Levels, B. Computing Final Grades , C. Grading Scale, D. Miscellaneous NotesA. Letter Grades Levels
Column 5 of the Grading Scale Table below gives minimum point values for each grade level assuming a perfect attendance record
- Example: An A grade requires at least 120 points [75.00%], a B+ grade requires at least 110 points [68.75%], a B grade requires at least 100 points [62.5%], etc.
- Estimating Grade: You can use Columns (1) through (4) of the Scale Table to estimate your current standing during the term after each exam
B. Computing Final Course Letter Grades
(Click for Grading Policy)
- Add your highest three scores from Exams #14
- Then add your Final Exam (Exam #5) score
- Now add your bonus points (if any) for good attendance using the Bonus Point Chart
- Look up your preliminary grade using Columns (1) and (5) of the Grading Scale Table below
(Remember table gives minimum point values for each grade level)
- Compute your final course grade by adjusting the preliminary grade for your attendance record (see Attendance Chart below)
[For an example grade computation, see Tracking Your Grade]
Attendance Chart Absent* Adjustment Examples 112 days None Grade unchanged as given by Scale Table below 1318 days Lower one-half letter grades A > B+; B+ > B; B > C+; C+ > C; C > D+; D+ > D; D > E 1921 days Lower one letter grades A > B; B+ > C+; B > C; C+ > D+; C > D; D+ and D > E 2224 days Lower two letter grades A > C; B+ > D+; B > D; C+, C and D > E 25 or more days Change grade to E or U Failing grade regardless of preliminary grade *Note: Total days attendance taken in Spring 2003 Term is 36 days
C. Course Grading Scale
Note: At end of term, after looking up preliminary grade below, adjust grade for attendance record as described in Section B., Part 4 above.
- Columns (1) and (5) are used to determine grades at end of term.
- Columns (1) through (4) can be used to track (estimate) grades during the term after each exam
Scale Table (1)
A 24 48 72 120 75.00% B+ 22 44 66 110 68.75% B 20 40 60 100 62.50% C+ 18 36 54 90 56.25% C 16 32 48 80 50.00% D+ 14 28 42 70 43.75% D 12 24 36 60 37.50% E <12 <24 <36 <60 <37.50% I See Incomplete Grades Below S-U See S-U Option Below
D. Misc. Notes
- Final Course Grades: Posted at end of term along with Attendance Records
- S-U Grades: See S-U option below
- Incomplete ("I") Grade: See Incomplete grades below
- Note: No letter grades assigned during term exam points simply accumulate during term. (Letter grade used only at end of the term to determine the final course grade).
- Grading Scale: Course grades are not "curved" but based on the grading scale table above and adjusted for attendance as described above
- Grade History: Typically 55% of class receive a grade of B or better; 18% receive D+ or lower. However, since no curve used, actual numbers vary from term to term. For example, over the last nine years, the number of students receiving a grade of B or better has varied from 36% (1995 Fall) to 85% (2001 Summer A). See Grade History for a histogram of data on last nine years. (Grades have generally improved over the last several years.)
- For More Information: See Grading Policy
3) Incomplete Grades ("I")
The Registrar's office and academic advising have a clear UF policy on assigning an incomplete grade. For your information, this policy is given below:
- Students receiving "I" grades must reach an agreement with their professor before the final exam and that the agreement (written) must be filed with the department office
(A department "incomplete grade form" must be filled out by the professor and student.)
- "I" grades can be assigned for extraordinary circumstances that may prevent the student from completing the course
- "I" grades can be assigned only after the professor and the student have explicitly arranged, before the final exam for the course, to have the student complete exams or other required course work after the semester is over
- The "I" arrangement can be used only when the student is doing passing work ("D" or better) in the course at the time of the arrangement
- The ¨I" arrangement must stipulate all conditions for completing the course and earning a letter grade, including a specific expiration date for the arrangement and designation of the grade to be assigned if all the work is not completed by that expiration date
- If the conditions of the agreement are not met by the student, the "I" grade will become an "E" grade
(In fact, the Registrar will convert all "I" grades to "E" grades if a normal letter grade is not assigned by the end of the next term in which the student is registered)
4) SU Option
- Students electing SU option must file SU Option application with Registrar by Friday, January 24, 2003.
(You need the signature of your professor.)
- In this class an S grade requires satisfaction of both items below:
- An overall course grade of D+ (D plus) or better after adjusting for attendance.
(Note: An E or D grade counts as a U)
- A Final Exam (Exam #5) score equivalent to a grade of D+ (D plus) or better.
See Attendance Policy and Computing Your Final Course Letter Grade for more details.
- Note that an S grade requires BOTH an overall course average of D+ (or better) after adjusting for attendance AND at least a D+ on the final exam!
- An SU grade cannot be later converted to a regular letter grade.
- Although SU Option has no grade point value, some institutions or agencies equate a U grade with an E grade.
- Think twice before taking this course S-U! Selecting this option is not an excuse to do less work.
If you perform poorly during the term and on the final exam, your course grade could be a U.
5) Tracking Your Grade
Example Grade Computation (Use above grading scale after each exam to estimate course progress)
Exam #1 21/32 (Student is off to a pretty good start) Subtotal 21/32 (approx. 65.6%) So current grade = B After Exam #1 Exam #2 27/32 (Studies hard!) Subtotal 48/64 (75%) So current grade = A After Exam #2 Exam #3 10/32 (Oops!) Subtotal 58/96 (approx. 60.4%) So current grade = C+ After Exam #3 Exam #4 24/32 But drop lowest score
(in this case, Exam #3)
to find next subtotal
Subtotal 72/96 (75%) So current grade = A After Exam #4 Exam #5 37/64 (Final Examgoofs off a bit again!) Total 109/160 (68.1%) so course grade = B after Exam #5
(Click for scale)
- The above example assumes this student earned no bonus points but attended at least one-third of the time (12 days). The preliminary grade of B is, therefore, the final course grade. (See Scale Table.)
- If the student had only 4 or 5 absences, the student would earn one bonus point giving a total score of 110 and, therefore, a B+ grade! (See Bonus Point Chart.) Thus, the bonus point pushed this borderline case up to the next grade.
- Now, instead, assume this student was absent for 19 days (out of 36 days on which attendance was taken). The student would, therefore, have no bonus points leaving the grade at B.
But wait! This student now has an excessive number of absences (19 days out of 36, or over 50 percent). So, the Attendance Chart shows the B grade will be lowered one full letter grade leaving the student with only a C grade for the course.
6) Grading Policy
Work Hard! (Click for more info)
- The University of Florida expects professors to grade students based on course performance
- Professors cannot base course grades on circumstances outside of class activities
- Professors cannot raise a final grade because a student will lose a scholarship or job, go on probation, fail to graduate, etc.
- EXTRA WORK IS NOT AN OPTION additional work to raise a grade is not allowed.
(All students would have to be given the same privilege.)
- Do not expect these policies to be violatedconsider final grades unalterable (except for mistakes)
- If you wish to avoid course problems:
- Work hard during the term to achieve the grade you want
- Seek help during the termnot at the end of the term when it is too late
- Borderline Cases. The course scale is rigid. Invariably some students end up as "borderline cases" (miss the next higher grade by one point).
- Your professor has no obligation to give you the next higher grade except for the Attendance Policy discussed separately below
- Occasionally your professor may consider a borderline case worthy of review
- In these rare cases, your professor will look for strong, significant and compelling reasons (related to the course, not outside circumstances) that "might" justify a higher grade.
(Note: Students who come late to class or leave early, do not attend class regularly, disrupt class, fail to take all exams, do not review past exams, or do not seek help during term, will not get any consideration if a borderline case.)
- Only in extraordinary circumstances will your professor consider raising a borderline case
- Thus, do not expect your professor to raise the grade of borderline cases
- Attendance Policy. Attendance policy can affect borderline cases as indicated above by adding one to three extra point to your course total score. See Attendance Policy for more details
7) Extra Help
- See Your Professor.(There is no extra financial charge for this!) This is your first line of defense. However, students who seek help at the last moment, fail to do assigned readings, or make no attempt to first review and understand the material, should not expect much help or sympathy.
- You can review your exams by coming to your professor's office.Do this as soon as possible after the exam. (Do not wait until the end of the term.)
- Tutoring Help.Obtain a list of astronomy graduate students who tutor from the Department of Astronomy. Contact the Department Office (392-2052, Ext. 201), or come to the Department's office in BRT 211. There is a fee for this service. (Ask tutor for his/her hourly rate$10.00 to $15.00 per hour is typical.)
- Teaching Center in Southwest Broward Hall(392-6769). Check with them. They sometimes may have an astronomy tutor. (Their tutoring services are free.)
- Form a Study Group.Studying with a friend can also help.
- Obtain How to Study in CollegeFifth Edition. 1993 by Walter Pauk (Houghton Mifflin Co.). 324 p. ISBN 0-395-64326-0. Approx. $30.00 (paper). This book is highly recommended!
Alternately: Buy one or more of the following by Ron Fry (Career Press, Hawthorne, NJ)
(Click for more info)
- Ace Any Test, 3rd ed., 1996. ISBN 1-56414-230-2. Approx. $6.99 (paper).
- How to Study, 4th ed., 1996. ISBN 1-56414-229-9. Approx. $9.99 (paper).
- Take Notes, 3rd ed., 1994. ISBN 1-56414-076-8. Approx. $6.95 (paper).
Counseling Center:Have personal, academic or career concerns? Don't wait! Seek help from the University Of Florida Counseling Center. Peer Counseling:Get help with questions regarding study skills, time and stress management, test anxiety, or career decision-making? (Click on icon.)
8) Course Grievances (General Guidelines for All Courses)
- Students who have grievances concerning a course or instructor should first try to resolve these problems with the instructor involved.
- If grievances remain unresolved, bring them to the attention of the professor, if any, who is in charge of the course. (A "course professor" is usually only common for lab courses or courses taught by graduate teaching assistants). There is no one "course professor" who directs all sections of AST 1002.
- If grievances still remain unresolved, bring your problems to the attention of the department that teaches the course. This will usually be the department's chairperson. For astronomy courses see the Astronomy Department Chair:
Dr. Stanley F. Dermott, BRT 211,
(352) 392-2052, Ext. 203,
- Try very hard to settle problems directly with your instructor or professor. Problems that you cannot reconcile directly with your professor are typically difficult to resolve. (Academic freedom gives a professor almost total control of assigned grades.)
- Note: See your professor in his office (not in class or through e-mail) to resolve important problems.
9) Academic Dishonesty and Lecture Copyrights
- Students who engage either in the giving or receiving of examination information will receive an E grade for the course.
- Student Affairs will be notified and the University may take additional disciplinary action.
- Also see The University of Florida's Student Guide for more information.
- Lectures given in this class are the property of the University of Florida and the professor. Faculty lectures and electronic computer presentations are protected by copyright laws
- Lectures may not be taped without prior permission from the lecturer.
- Lectures and electronic presentations may not be used for any commercial purposes, especially purposes that result in expected monetary gains for all parties involved.
- Students found to be in violation of copyright infringements may be subject to discipline under the University's Student Conduct Code.
- Students may reproduce limited quantities of class lecture notes for their own personal use or other students enrolled in current sections of AST 1002, as long as their is no monetary gain for all parties involved.
10) Missed Classes
If you miss a class you are still responsible for all class and course information.
(Also see attendance policy.)
There are no course notes you can borrow. However, you have several options if you miss a class:
- View the class PowerPoint Presentations (with the limitations described)
- Review the pdf files of these same PowerPoint presentations either on this web site (or in your printed Study Guide)
- Ask someone in this section if you can copy or xerox their notes
- Check the notes against the topic outlines for completeness
- See me if you have questions about the material
The online or pdf PowerPoint slides are not good substitutes for regular attendance since they may not be self explanatory, do not show animations that may help you understand concepts, may not contain updated or other information, and do not contain picture of the day slides (e.g., the "picture of the day") shown at the end of most class periods).
If you are unable to come to a class but can attend one of my other section(s) on the same day, do it! (But, I do not always teach more than one section.)
However, do not attend other sections on a regular basis because class sections may get out of step with each other, cover different material, etc. And do not attend sections taught by other professors since they may cover very different material!
WARNING: You must take your exams with your enrolled section.
(If you take any exam with any of my other sections without my permission, you may receive a zero on the exam.)
11) Attendance Policy and Borderline Cases
It may be possible to obtain a good grade if you never or rarely attend. But this is usually not the case. Students who have a good attendance record typically have a significantly greater chance of earning a good grade. In addition, some material given in class may not occur on exams. However, I consider untested material part of the course content. To encourage attendance, final course grades take your attendance record into account. In fact, I use attendance to judge "borderline cases."
- Students may earn from one to three bonus points for very good attendance
- Students may have final course letter grades lowered for very poor attendance
See Section (2), Computing Your Final Course Letter Grade, to see how this works.
There are no excused absences unless a student has extraordinary extenuating circumstances that might lower their grade (usually an extended illness). Bonus points must be earned for excellent attendance. If you don't attend, I cannot award extra points no matter what the reason. And only students who are absent for an exceptional number of days will have grades lowered. Therefore, a small number of absences for personal reasons, sickness, university events, etc., will not normally lower a grade unless there are extraordinary extenuating circumstance. (Then you must see me.) So, do not be absent for foolish reasons or you will use up your allocation of absences. (You must be absent more than 12 days out of 36 days, or one-third of the days on which I check attendance for your grade to be lowered.) Hence, students who attend class two-thirds of the time need not worry about attendance lowering their grade.
Note: Do not depend only on info in your Study Guide (such as the PowerPoint presentations) to tell you all you need to know since additional material will be given in class. Students who do not attend will also miss pictures of the day that are used as the basis of some exam questions. (These pictures are not included in the printed PowerPoint slides.)
- Attendance will be taken on most class days
(usually beginning with the 2nd weeks of the term)
- The Spring 2003 semester has 36 days on which attendance will be taken
- Attendance on exam days is not included in your attendance record.
- Attendance records will be posted on Web at end of term
- SU Option Students taking course SU must obey the same attendance rules. See S-U Option for more information on this option.
Border Line Cases
- I normally decide borderline cases by having students earn the next grade by adding attendance bonus points to their total exam scores.
- This is normally the only method I use to judge borderline cases
Note: The total number of days on which I check attendance is unique to each semester since holidays vary from term to term. (Examination days are excluded from attendance days.) During the Spring 2003 term the total number of days on which attendance will be taken is 36.
(Attendance records normally begin with the second week of the term.)
For more on my Attendance Philosophy, click here
12) Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
Students requesting classroom accommodation must first register with the Dean of Students Office (Peabody P202, 392-1261). The Dean of Students Office will provide documentation to the student who must then provide this documentation to the Instructor when requesting accommodations.
If you require accommodations due to a disability, please make an appointment during my office hours so that we may discuss your needs.
(Students who need special accommodations for exams must do so at least one week prior to the first exam.)
To learn more, see the Office of Student Disabilities (392-1261).
13) Commercial Notes
Using Commercial Notes
Students are encouraged to use library and other study guides if they wish. However, some business sell printed course materials (such as 'A' Plus Notes, Class Notes, Einstein's Notes, etc.) or post notes on the web. If you choose to use such notes, please be sure you understand the following:
Examples of Bad Notes
- I have not given permission to anyone to produce these notes or study guides.
- I have not verified or edited any of these astronomy notes or study guides.
- Material in many commercial notes or study guides may be incomplete, misleading, or inaccurate.
In addition to these errors, most printed notes are also expensive and students who use these commercial notes do so at their own risk.
- An outline I reviewed (from 'A' Plus Notes) for Topics E and F had about thirty errors or misleading statements!
- A web outline stated I cancelled class because I was sick and sent out an e-mail message about it. Totally False!
(I was never sick all term, never cancelled class and never sent out an e-mail message about it!)
- A web outline stated I showed a certain video. But I never showed this video!
- A web outline posted completely wrong dates for several of my lectures!
Instead, use the PowerPoint Page to obtain class materials rather than buying incomplete, inaccurate and expensive sets of commercial notes.
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