Grading System for Math 160, Sections 06 and 11 for Winter 2023

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Module 0
The Math Department has determined that this course will contain a Module 0 where students can review and then demonstrate their proficiency in six basic areas of mathematics. The math proficiency level required to register for this course implies that students already know this material. However, just in case a review is necessary, we have web pages that explain and demonstrate that material. Here are links to web pages covering those areas:
  1. Rounding (and a short video presentation of rounding)
  2. Scientific Notation (and a short video presentation of scientific notation)
  3. Conversion: Decimals, Fractions, Percents (and a short video presentation of converting fractions, decimals, and percents)
  4. Evaluating Expressions (and a short video presentation of evaluating expressions: the order of operations, and a short video presentation of evaluating expressions: the use of variables)
  5. Basic Inequalities and Compound Inequalities (and a short video presentation of inequalities)
  6. Equation of a line; Slope; the y-Intercept (and a short video presentation of linear equations)
After reading and perhaps studying those web pages, students are required to take and pass (with at least a score of 90 out of 100 points) the Module 0 Test. That test, which can be retaken as needed, must be passed before the student is even allowed to take any of the six tests or the final for this course. This is a Math Department requirement. There will be no exceptions. Please note that your Module 0 score is merely used to give you access to the real tests for this class. That Module 0 score will not be counted toward your final grade.

Students request the test on Module 0 by emailing me such a request. I will respond by sending the student a personalized version of the test for Module 0 along with a personalized blank answer sheet. Students take the test, record their answers on the blank answer sheet using a text editor (e.g., Notepad or Textedit) or a word processor (e.g., Word or Google Docs). The filled in answer sheet is then emailed to me, within 48 of my sending the test. I will grade the test as soon as possible and send the graded answer sheet back to the student. Grades will be recorded on Blackboard. For this test, and this test only, the recorded grade will be the grade of the most recently taken version of the test.

Students may practice the test by obtaining a test from this Module 0 link.

Students who need help, beyond the web pages, with these basic understandings and skills should contact me as soon as possible to arrange for special help. Please note that students are expected to at least read the associated web pages before asking for special help.

Grading for the course

Grading for the course is based on points earned on the six(6) chapter tests and the departmental final exam (Version 5). Please note that the chapter tests are relatively unique to my sections but that the department final is common across all sections. As such, the questions on the departmental final are often stated in a "different voice" from the chapter tests. Students are advised to use the departmental final (from my web page) to ask questions as we move through topics. In any case, each chapter test is worth 100 points and the departmental final is worth 200 points. Thus, the maximum score is 800 points. There is no way to earn points other than through the tests.

To take a test each student must send an email to me requesting the test. I will then create a test, from my web page, and send a pdf version of that test, along with a personalized blank answer sheet, to the student via email (using the WCC email account). The student then has up to 48 hours, but not extending beyond , to send the completed answer sheet back to me via an email attachment.

Grades are assigned as
Total semester points Assigned Grade
720 to 800 A
640 to 719 B+
560 to 639 C+
480 to 559 D+
0 to 479 F
You may note that grades such as A-, B, B-, C, C-, D, and D- are not assigned. They will not be given. I can barely justify the assignment of the five grades noted in the table. A finer distinction is an absurdity!

Grading for tests

Grading for each test, the chapter tests and the final, is based on a weighted rolling average of at most the last three times the test is taken. Thus, if a student takes a test once then that is the test score. If a student takes a test and then does a retake of the test, then the recorded test score is equal to one third of the sum of the first test score and twice the second test score. For example, taking a test and getting a score of 70 and then taking a retest and getting a score of 82 results in a recorded test score of 78,
(70 + 82*2 )/3 = (70+164)/3 = 234/3 = 78
The recorded test score for taking a test and two retests is one-sixth of the sum of the first test score plus twice the second test score plus three times the third test score. For example, taking a test three times and getting scores of 70, 82, and 90 results in a recorded test score of 84,
(70+ 2*82 + 3*90)/6 = (70 + 163 + 270)/6 = 505/6 = 84
The recorded test score for taking a test five times ignores the results of the first two tests and only does the weighted average of the final three tests. For example, taking a test five times and getting scores of 70, 82, 90, 90, and 96 produces a recorded test score of 93, the scores for the first two tests are ignored,
(90 + 2*90 + 3*96)/6 = (90 + 180 + 288)/6 = 558/6 = 93

Note that with this system it is possible to raise your grade to 100 for a test score even if you bomb the test the first time. You just need to keep retaking the test until you get three 100's in a row.

Taking and Retaking Tests

In order to take or retake a test you will need to send me an email asking for the test that you want. Once I have sent, via email, the test and a personalized blank answer sheet you will have up to 48 hours to complete the test and email the completed answer sheet back to me [all tests must me completed by ]. For example, you might send an email that says:
Please send me test #4. I will complete and return the answer sheet to you within 48 hours.
In response (though not necessarily immediately) I will create a personalized version of that test for you, in pdf format, and an associated personalized answer sheet as a text document. I will then email both of those documents to you. You will open, possibly print, the test. You will open the answer sheet in a text editor, in Notepad, RStudio, or Word on a PC, in TextEdit, RStudio, or Word on a Mac, or using Google Docs if you prefer. For whatever it is worth, for the first six tests my preference is that you use a text editor (Notepad or TextEdit or RStudio), with a second preference that you use Word, and that you use Google Docs as a last resort. On the other hand, using Word or Google docs works better for the departmental final. But that is just my preference and you need to use the method that works best for you. Once you have received the requested test and answer sheet, take the test and record your answers on the answer sheet. Save the answer sheet and email the completed answer sheet to me.

You have up to 48 hours from the time I email the test until the time that you email back the answer sheet [all tests must me completed by ]. In response, though again not immediately, I will grade the test answer sheet, record the grade on Blackboard, and email a scan of the graded answer sheet along with the correct answers to you.

There are limitations related to taking retests but most of those limitations are merely time limitations. If you have taken a test then you should not even request a retest until the previous test has been graded and returned to you. After that you may request, via email, a retest. This is just a repeat of the process for taking the test the first time.

This system is really generous for the early tests because you have until the last class day to do retakes. As the semester progresses the time to retake a test diminishes to the point where there is little time to do retakes on the last topics test and on the final(s). I am sorry about that, but grades are required to be submitted a day and a half after the last class meeting day for your section.

Still, this does mean that you have ample opportunity to get used to the testing style and to learn how to prepare for and take the tests. The other restriction is that if you have a grade of 75% or less on a test, you should not request a retake unless you have gone over the mistakes on the earlier test with me. I am available at mutually acceptable times, usually at the end of class or right after class. I want you to succeed and I want to be there to help you understand the problems and the solutions.

Test availability

The tests are on the web site. Note that every time you reload the web page for a test the system generates a new test (and, of course, a new answer sheet). You are free to practice the test as often as you like. When it is time to make a the test for you I will simply go to the same web page and produce a pdf version of that test for you. As noted above, I will email that test to you and you will have to take the test and email back the personalized answer sheet. Taking tests on the material is part of the course and it is meant to be a learning experience. It is your responsibility to find the time out of your schedule to take tests and retests.

Notes for tests

Tests and the exam are open notes, open book, open computer, and open internet connection if you have one, but closed phone. The test is given on the honor system where you, and only you, are to be doing the work on the test. Each test ends with a section where you will be asked to make a statement to the effect that the work on the test is your work.

Falling behind

The class calendar gives suggested dates for taking tests. Those are mere suggestions. You can request and take tests earlier or later than the suggested date without penalty, other than the shortened time to retake a test if you delay taking it the first time. Falling behind the schedule is not a particularly good idea, but neither is taking a test for which you are not at all prepared.

Although missing a test does not give you an official zero score for the test, it also does not give you any points for the test. Since the final grade for the course is based on accumulated recorded points, completely missing a test has the effect of getting a zero. Thus, if a student were to miss tests three and four but have 95's on the other four chapter tests and 185 on the departmental final, then the student would have earned 565 points
4*95 + 185 = 380 + 185 = 565
and the resulting grade would be a C+.

Using the tutors

I am not sure if the tutoring service will even be available this semester as we do these virtual classrooms. However, if tutors are available please understand that the tutors are not there to teach the material. Nor are they there to take tests, even practice tests, for you. Please note that the tutors have been instructed to limit their services to helping you understand my various web pages. Thus, if you go into the tutor and ask for help with question 44 on TEST 2, the tutor should respond with "what part of Palay's web pages relating to this do you not understand?" The material needed to understand question 44 on Test 2 is on my web page called Probability: Binomial Distribution. You would have to point out where on the web page you got lost. Then the tutor will help you understand what the web page is describing. In short, there is nothing on any test that is not covered in one of my web pages.

I really do not recommend that you use a tutor other than using me to provide additional help with the material. I really do want you to succeed! I try to be available for individual and/or small group meetings outside of class time. If you are experiencing difficulties in learning the material please contact me to set up some "tutoring" time.

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©Roger M. Palay     Saline, MI 48176     January, 2023