Course Grading Scheme

  A = 93-100%     B = 85-92.9%     C = 77-84.9%     D = 70-76.9%     F = 69.9% & lower  



  SUMMER PREP
In late May, next school year's incoming APUSH students are provided with a small collection of course work to be completed over the summer months. The assignment package, due in its entirety the first official day of class, is required and scored. The work serves as a sampling of that which takes place during the school year. Additionally, it enables students (instructor, as well) to "hit the ground running" when class commences in the fall. The group of assignments distributed is roughly equivalent to what might be assigned over a period of five days during the normal school year.

  WORKSHEETS
Students are assigned 31 worksheets, roughly corresponding to every chapter of study. Each worksheet contains 50 multiple-choice questions. It is appropriate for students to use texts and other sources to complete the worksheets. They are valued at 50 points each. Beginning with chapter three on the Tuesday after Labor Day, one worksheet is due (in sequential order) the first school day of every week until the supply of worksheets is exhausted. The worksheets (indeed, all class assignments) come due at the beginning of the period. No late papers are accepted.

  MAJOR EXAMS
A total of eight major exams will be administered throughout the school year. The tests have been constructed to coincide with the nine periods of study recognized by the College Board (the first two periods are combined within the first course exam) and covered through the four blocks of study described in the course syllabus on this Website. The exams are composed of 50 multiple-choice questions ("old" and "new" style are blended), several of which have been lifted from National Exams of previous years. As the course progresses, the tests become increasingly comprehensive. Tests will be announced a few days in advance. Students are allowed one class period of 50 minutes duration to complete an exam. The exams are each worth a maximum of 250 points (figured at the rate of 5 points per total number of questions correctly answered). Missed exams will be fulfilled by the beginning of class on the next day after return. Failure to comply results in points reduction at the discretion of the instructor.

  QUIZZES
Following each lecture series (about every 5-6 days), a quiz will be administered. They are typically announced in advance, but this is not an absolute, therefore students are advised to come prepared for a quiz during any regular class session. Quizzes offer up to 20 multiple-choice questions of which the general level of difficulty is markedly less than most items on the major exams. Every quiz is worth 20 points (one point per question). Students absent on quiz day will not do the quiz. Instead, any missed points can be recovered via an alternate method such as chapter notes (see below). For this part of the grading scheme, 500 points is considered maximum. Students are offered 27 total quizzes during the course of the year—a perfect score on all quizzes equates to 540 points, thereby leaving ample "comfort room" for an occasional absence. As a general rule, quizzes will not be administered on Mondays or Fridays.

  NOTEBOOK
Students are required to maintain a spiral notebook. Within this notebook should be brief descriptions of all identification items listed under the "What's My Line?" heading for each unit. Students should endeavor to keep the notebooks current with lecture and reading assignments. The notebooks will be checked periodically throughout the year, although the exact number of times is flexible. Neatness and organization, as well as accuracy and thoroughness, are important grading factors. Exhaustive "busy work" is not the intent of this activity. Explanation will be provided near the start of the school year to assist students in knowing what sort of information is key. No matter how many times notebooks are checked during the year, the total notebook portion of students' grades is 500 points.

  ESSAY EXERCISES
Several essay exercises will happen. The target amount (subject to numerous factors which may hamper the school year's total class time) is 15-20 for the entire year, the bulk of which will occur during the second and third quarters. The essay type is varied among short-answer, free-response, and document-based formats. Advanced notice is standard procedure. Students have 50 minutes to complete free-response and document-based essays. The total points available for essay response activities is 500. Hence, the value per essay is undetermined until the final essay. Please click here to view essay response grading criteria. This portion of the grading package is intended for only those students who plan to take the National Exam.

  PRIMO OUTLINES
Students must complete three primo outlines detailing historical periods of choice (instructor approval is recommended). Worth 100 points each, the outlines are graded on presentation, thoroughness, and accuracy. Inclusion of charts, maps, political cartoons, and other such adornments is beneficial. At least two sources must be used (one of which should be Garraty). Sample outlines are available from the instructor for students' inspection. All papers are due, at scattered times, before May 1; precise completion dates will be announced as the school year progresses.

  HOLLYWOOD & HISTORY
Students are required to view two movies based on an episode in United States history and complete an instructor-generated study guide. Please click here to access the list of acceptable films and accompanying study guides. The value of each Hollywood & History assignment is 100 points. A generous assortment of films assures that no students are compelled to view movies which they might consider, for any reason whatever, personally offensive or which might otherwise be off-limits due to parental boundaries. All papers are to be completed prior to May 1; specific dates will be established as the school year progresses.

  POLITICAL CARTOONS
Students must complete a political cartoons collection. The finished work includes at least six political cartoons each drawn from different historical periods. Each cartoon is accompanied by detailed description of the event portrayed, circumstances of the incident, identification of key elements within the drawing (including what each is intended to represent). The overall message conveyed by the cartoonist should be stated, as well. The items should be arranged chronologically and original sources identified. It is acceptable to substitute a significant artwork or other visual for one of the political cartoons. The political cartoons activity, worth 100 points, is evaluated on presentation, thoroughness, and accuracy. The instructor has sample political cartoon descriptions available. This assignment is due before May 1; an exact date will be determined as the school year progresses.

  OPTICAL EMULSION
Students must complete an assemblage of several assorted visuals. The finished work includes ten items, each drawn from different historical periods, from the list of advertisement, artwork, chart/graph, collector card, currency (bill or coin), flag/banner, map, photograph, postage stamp, poster, political cartoon, and statue/sculpture. All items must be accompanied by description of the event portrayed, circumstances of the episode, and identification of key points which make that item historically memorable. A general summary statement regarding historical significance might be appropriate, as well. The items are arranged chronologically and original sources identified. Worth 100 points, the optical emulsion activity is evaluated on presentation, thoroughness, and accuracy. The instructor has samples available. This assignment is due no later than May 1; a precise date will be announced during the school year.

  BOOK REPORT
Students must read a book of historical significance and complete a report. Acceptable books represent a wide array of topics spanning the entire gamut of United States history. The instructor will offer guidance to assure that students make a worthwhile selection in terms of personal interest, scholarly benefit, and historical impact. Additionally, direction will be available regarding format and content of the book report. This activity is to be completed prior to May 1; an exact due date will be established during the school year.

  CHAPTER NOTES
Chapter notes (in various formats) may be completed at the students' leisure and presented for evaluation by the instructor. Outlines decidedly thorough will be awarded 20 "opportunity" points. Students are limited to a maximum of 15 outlines for the year—ten from Garraty and five additional from other quality sources (approved in advance by the instructor). No more than one outline may be submitted per week. This is an optional component of the total grading package.

  TEST ANALYSES
There are two basic reasons why testing occurs in the academic world. Exams are most commonly administered for the short-term purpose of knowledge evaluation to obtain grades per student ("summative assessment"). Tests can also be used as a long-term learning mechanism—frequently ignored in the typical classroom environment—whereby students review items answered incorrectly in order to determine and eliminate cognitive flaws ("formative assessment"). Within one week following major exams, students are obliged to submit personal test analyses. The analyses attempt to reveal study patterns, positive or negative, which may be significant to students' results on the tests. As part of the analyses, students each declare study modification(s) of some nature, the goal of which is to increase future exam scores (through more efficient acquisition/understanding of knowledge presented). Importantly, the study enhancements should be genuine, realistic, and measurable. The instructor will provide guidance when the time comes.

  EXCURSION
Students may opt to participate in the yearly excursion to the Little Bighorn Battlefield in southeastern Montana and other historical points in and near Sheridan, Wyoming. It is a three-day affair, typically scheduled for late April. Sometimes the trip is conducted in conjunction with other classes, such as Advanced Photography. Please click here for full details. The maximum available points for the excursion is 200, based on several criteria, including a written assignment. Students not attending have other means by which to acquire the points. Due to certain existing travel conditions, participation is somewhat limited. Please note, as well, that the instructor maintains the right to bar from the trip any students who display, via normal classroom observation, conduct suggesting extra adult supervision might be necessary. Placing volunteer teachers/supervisors and parents/chaperones in a position of abnormal regulation (due to pre-known circumstances) is unreasonable to all excursion participants, adults and students alike. Simply, if deportment in the school setting is an issue, logic dictates that almost certainly conduct in public places (such as restaurants, motels, and museums) will also be problematic.

  NATIONAL EXAM
The year-end Advanced Placement National Examination in United States History is optional. Please click here to learn more about the National Exam. The alternative is an internal final test (worth 500 points and automatically replacing the Essay Exercises category within the total grading system). National Exam takers are exempted from the class final test. Students having a grade of C− or below at semester break will be directed away from the National Exam.

  REVIEW SESSIONS
From time to time, after-hours review sessions will be scheduled, perhaps as a precursor to a major exam, to offer extra assistance in proper essay construction, or simply as general review for the National Exam. Attendance is highly recommended, but left to the students' discretion. Sessions will be held more frequently as the date for the National Exam nears.

  FINAL TEST
Students who decline the National Exam are subject to an in-class final test occurring in lieu of the Essay Exercises segment (see above) of the total grading scheme. The test is comprised of 100 multiple-choice questions, the vast majority of which are National Exam caliber. The class final test is administered on the same day as the National Exam.

  GENERAL NOTES
Students (and parents) are requested to remember that this course is a year-long affair rather than a series of four 9-weeks classes which are averaged together. With this in mind, the grades appearing on "report cards" throughout the year represent very close approximations of the students' composite work up to a certain point. In other words, posted grades are progressive rather than absolute, much like the score during a basketball game (the course grade—similar to the score during any basketball game—is subject to and likely will change from moment to moment). The instructor reserves the right to modify at any time a portion of this grading scheme that, for whatever reason, appears unworkable, provided sufficient notice is given to students. Students should review the on-line gradebook frequently and use this page as a reference tool throughout the school year.


APUSH GRADING PLAN SYNOPSIS
ITEM
COUNT
VALUE
SCORING
STATUS
 GARRATY WORKSHEETS
30 (of 31)
1500
Objective
Required
 UNIT QUIZZES
25 (of 27)
 500
Objective
Required
 MAJOR EXAMS
8
2000
Objective
Required
 FINAL CLASS TEST ¹
 ESSAY EXERCISES ²
1
15-20
 500
Objective
Subjective
Required
 NOTEBOOK
1
 500
Subjective
Required
 PRIMO OUTLINES
3
 300
Subjective
Required
 HOLLYWOOD & HISTORY
2
 200
Subjective
Required
 POLITICAL CARTOONS
1
 100
Subjective
Required
 OPTICAL EMULSION
1
 100
Subjective
Required
 BOOK REPORT
1
 100
Subjective
Required
 U PICK 'EM
Any 2
 200
Subjective
Required
 PRESIDENTS CELEBRATION
1
 100
Subjective
Required
 OFF-CAMPUS ACTIVITY
   SELECT ONE OF THE FOLLOWING
   Little Bighorn Excursion (200 plus)
   Crazy Horse Trip (200 max)
   Mt. Rushmore Trip (200 max)
1
 200
Subjective
Required
 VARIOUS UNCLASSIFIED
TBA
 200
Flexible
Required
 TEST ANALYSES
TBA
 
Required
 BIG MIDTERM EXAM
1
 100
Objective
Bonus
 WEBSITE ERRATA
Max 10
10 per
Subjective
Bonus
 CHAPTER NOTES
Max 15
20 per
Subjective
Opportunity
 AFTER HOURS REVIEW
TBA
Opportunity
 APUSH NATIONAL EXAM
1
 
Optional
 FINAL EXIT ACTIVITIES
   CHOOSE FROM THE FOLLOWING
   Living History Interview (100)
   Woodstock Concert Trip (100)
   Landslide or Oval Office (50)
   Presidential Capsule (25)
   Classroom Wall of History (25)
   OTHER OPTIONS GENERATED
   THRU STUDENT CREATIVITY
   AND INSTRUCTOR APPROVAL
TBA
100
Flexible
Discretionary
 ¹ Students who do NOT take AP Nat'l Exam.
 ² ONLY students who take AP Nat'l Exam.
6500 TOTAL POINTS *
 * This is an approximation.  Actual total points may vary ± 1.5%.


Click here for Grading Scheme Synopsis in printable PDF format.