Evaluating Learning

Grading | Exams and Quizzes


Grades will be assigned according to performance on twelve tests (each having equal weight and constituting 48% of the final grade) and one comprehensive final exam (17%). Read Make-up Tests and Test Procedures below. Performance in the laboratory will constitute the remaining 35% of the final grade (read The Laboratory, Laboratory Quiz Procedure, and Make-up Laboratories below). The final grade may also be affected by attendance in the laboratory (read Laboratory Attendance below). For those students taking the lecture only, the final grade will be determined from performance on twelve tests (84%) and one final exam (16%). Paying attention, taking good notes, and the ability to follow instructions are simple skills that are a key to success in this course. Application of these skills requires both good attendance as well as punctuality. The pace of the semester is unremitting, but not ruthless. Assignments and instructions come inexorably and, if not attended to, can suddenly assume the form of a tsunami.

All grades will be based on a scale of 100 with A+ = 97.00-100, A = 93.00-96.99, A- = 90.00-92.99, B+ = 87.00-89.99, B= 83.00-86.99, B- = 80.00-82.99, C+ = 77.00-79.99, C = 73.00-76.99, C- = 70.00-72.99, D = 60.00-69.99, and F = 59.99 or less.

Definition of Grades

A+= Rare performance. Reserved for exceptional achievement.

A = Excellent work. Outstanding achievement.

A- = Excellent work that exceeds course expectations.

B+= Very good work. Solid achievement (expected of Barnard/Columbia undergraduates) that meets all course expectations.

B = Good work. Acceptable achievement that meets almost all course expectations.

B- = Satisfactory work. Acceptable achievement that meets major course expectations.

C+= Fair achievement just above that which is minimally acceptable.

C = Fair achievement but only minimally acceptable.

C- = Barely acceptable achievement.

D = Very low performance. Unsatisfactory work. Lowest achievement to still allow for a passing grade. This grade may not be counted toward the major or minor option.

F = Failure.

Consult the Barnard or Columbia College Catalogs or the Registrar's Office for other information about grading, including: the definitions of other letter grades, pass/D/fail option, incompletes, and calculation of GPA.

Summary of Grading for Course

Course Requirement% of Final Grade
I. Lecture60
12 Tests (Each 3%)36
Comprehensive Final Exam24
II. Laboratory40
12 Quizzes (the best 10 are each worth .5%)5
Brownfield Investigation (12 Labs)35
III. Adjustments for Absence or Lateness

Exams and Quizzes   

Test Procedures

Tests will be given at the beginning of the lecture period. The test will be handed out but no one may begin work until told to do so. You will have 15 minutes to work on the test. No writing is allowed after you are told that the "time is up." Anyone who continues to write (no matter what the reason) will be given a zero for the test. If you are late to class, you will have less time to complete the test. If you miss the test or the class, you will be given a zero for the test.

Make-Up Tests

No make-up test will be given without advance notification of at least one week before any absence due to religious observance. Otherwise, no make-up test will be given except for bonafide emergencies or illness. Except in the most unusual circumstances advance notification is required. A letter from your Academic Dean or your doctor is required before the scheduling of any make-up test. If permission to make-up a test has been received, it should be rescheduled as soon as possible.

Procedure for Handling Questions and Complaints About the Grading of Tests, Quizzes, and Other Assignments

If you have a question or complaint concerning the grading of your work, you must detail the question or complaint in writing. Attach this
written question or complaint to the test, quiz or other assignment and give it to Prof. Bower directly or leave it in his mailbox in the Environmental Science Department. Once your question or complaint has been reviewed, your work will be returned to you with an explanation of the action taken. At this time if there are still questions, the issues may be discussed. Under no circumstances will a discussion about grading take place prior to above mentioned review, and no review will take place unless the problem or complaint is put in writing. Your laboratory instructors and teaching assistants have also been instructed not to discuss questions and complaints about grading with students. Remember! Put it in writing!