The instructor does at least 70% of the grading including at least 70% of the grading of writing that will be revised for this course. The TA grades the rest. The course is graded using a point system: There are five components of the course grading quizzes - 200 points total possible, reaction labs - 75 points each for a total of 300 points maximum, that is, you can do more than 4 reaction labs, an exam - 200 points possible based on the reading on reserve in Ellis library (Domjan book), reaction papers and attendance on discussion days - 50 points each for 350 points total, and lab reports - 200 points each for one's first lab report, the initial draft is worth 50 points and the remainder is worth 150 points.
All of these components except the one exam are achieved by the mastery system, that is, either you earn all of the points for an attempt or you earn zero points. Everyone in the class must master at least one lab report and do either two reaction papers or one reaction lab to complete the course, but the rest is up to the student. This system may seem peculiar, but it gives students control over what they learn, as well as control over when they learn since a student can skip a certain project during a particular week if they have a lot of exams in other classes at that time or have some other conflict. By allowing students to decide how they wish to earn their points, it gives students control over how they are graded. -If you earn 900 points, you receive an A for the course; -If you earn 800 points, you receive a B for the course; -If you earn 700 points, you receive a C for the course; -If you earn 600 points, you receive a D for the course. All students will have minimally one full lab report written, graded with comments from the instructor or TA written on it, and revised to incorporate the instructor or TA's comments and one reaction lab or two reaction papers written, graded with comments, and revised to incorporate the comments.
Quizzes. There will be four quizzes in the course. Each quiz is worth 50 points if you master the quiz. The quizzes will not be cumulative and will consist of somewhere in the range of 3-7 questions -- definitions and short answer or essay questions. Anyone caught cheating on a quiz will receive zero points for that quiz and may be given a failing grade for the class. All students must be on time on the day of a scheduled quiz or the instructor can deny the student's an opportunity to take the quiz.
Reaction Labs. Reaction Labs should be about 2-3 pages in length and should include a two or 3 sentence abstract, a 3 or so sentence introduction, a 4-5 sentence procedure description, a few sentences describing what was found, and a 2-3 sentence conclusion. The reaction lab requires that students generate the reason for the experiment or lab project, what the results mean, and the implication of the results for animal behavior. It is important to convey an accurate description of what the purpose of the project was to obtain credit. Although the syllabus requires that all students revise one lab report and either one reaction lab or two reaction papers, the instructor and TA can require that students rewrite any reaction lab in order to improve the writing in order for the student to obtain credit or, of course, they can simply give zero points for it.
Lab Reports. Students are required to complete at least one full Lab Report. Lab reports are typically 8 or so pages long. This project requires that that students think about the purpose, methods, and results of the experiment or project as well as the implications of the data for animal behavior. Examination. You must earn at least 50 points on the exam in order to earn any points at all. There will be an examination on April 18 for those wishing to take the exam. The exam will be on material from Chapters 3 and 4 Two classical conditioning chapters from Domjan and Burkhard's Principles of Learning and Behavior text. If you wish to take the exam, you must notify the instructor by April 14 so he knows how many exams to create. As mentioned, all answers are produced in written form -- short answers, definitions, essays.
Reaction Papers and Discussion Days. Students must read the assigned reading in the text (Minsky) before the class meeting when discussion will occur. Students must also hand in a reaction paper about the assigned reading at the beginning of that class meeting. Class participation in the discussion is also recommended but not necessary to obtain the 75 points credit. Attendance might be taken at these sessions since attendance as well as the reaction paper is mandatory for obtaining credit. Reaction papers should be about 1.5-2 pages long. This paper should be based on the material in the readings, but the paper should also extend beyond the material in the readings. The student will receive a mastery grade to the extent that you make it clear that the student understood the readings, and then -- more importantly -- to go beyond the readings by putting thought into their own ideas. In order to receive the 75 points, a revision of two reaction papers or one reaction lab must be turned in such that students incorporate the comments of the grader.
Additional Writing: Writing will occur in 5 different ways: 1) quizzes 2) one exam 3) reaction labs 4) reaction papers 5) lab reports. Since every student must write one lab report 8 pages total, and either one reaction lab 2 or 3 pages total or two reaction papers 2-4 pages total, the total number of pages for their first drafts will be a minimum of: 10 pages. And these pages will get revised so they must produce 10 pages of second drafts. In truth, every student will produce more than this because, in addition to those activities, they will take quizzes, write more reaction papers and/or more reaction labs than mentioned above.
Hence, all students will end up doing a total of about 30 pages of writing or more but the students get to decide how they wish to try to earn their points. All students or nearly all students will do 10 or more pages of additional writing contingent upon which options they choose.
Length of assignment:
Todd Schachtman and Rachel Richardson, Graduate Student
Todd Schachtman and Rachel Richardson, Graduate Student