Archive for the ‘Grades’ Category

Game over: the kill screen.

When an adversarial is conducted entirely or primarily—or even partially—in class, it is virtually impossible to fail.  In most cases, a student would need to sleep through every lesson, cut every class, or set fire to someone else before he or she would earn less than a 60.  Even then, it would likely require students in the room to augment their work so vigorously that the scoring scale was broken: one student earning 150+ points to the derelict individual’s none.  An adversarial is the one assignment in Media Studies for which doing nothing does not result in a zero.

The reason a total lack of input or effort is treated with such forgiveness is this: By being in the room, a derelict student has likely picked up something from the collaborative learning that surrounded him or her.  As part of the environment, even when he or she is indistinguishable from a desk or chair or large rock, the student is given the benefit of the doubt.

When an adversarial is conducted entirely online, there is no way to say with any certainty that every student read every comment, or that every student read any comment, or even that every student read the original post.  Learning is demonstrated solely through participation.

Here are your scores for the adversarial conducted entirely online from May 9 to May 13:

Note: 1 = the points you earned for contributions to the discussion; 2 = the curved grade, from A to F, that you were given; and 3 = the final score that goes into your average.

You had the opportunity to request an extension, if the five days of uninterrupted access to computers in class was not enough; nevertheless, three of you posted zero comments, and about half of you posted no more than a paragraph or two of content.  I wish I could tell you that I heard enough in the classroom itself to forgive this, but I did not.  I listened intently to the conversations that spilled over into our 39-minute periods, and I heard only

  1. exhaustive consideration of the prom, “assassins,” and other senior-year activities;
  2. a spirited discussion of sports that never returned to the germane origin of that analogy; and
  3. random thoughts on subjects as unrelated to our course as next year’s living arrangements, your other classes, and the SEE project.

For those students who managed to leave comments, there was certainly room to work harder; few of you brought the discussion back to the texts or the ideas raised in the texts.  You spoke eloquently in some cases, but you sometimes substituted personal experience and partially-baked philosophy for the requirements of the prompt itself.  My question, asked not rhetorically but in actual confusion, is this: What did the rest of you do for five days in class?  If I ask the Tech Department to pull records of what you did online from 9:20 through 10:00 this week, what will I find?

Of course, some of you worked hard, and your scores reflect that.  If I gave the rest of you the grades you deserve, some of you seniors would find yourselves failing Q4.  You would have earned this.  Instead, I will give you, as a gift, a relative curve.  You have not earned this.  Those of you who did nothing now have a 40, not a zero.  The rest of you are curved so substantially by this that no one, not even the student who earned 9 points over five days, ends up with less than an 80 overall.

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Note: The term idiot box is almost as old as television itself, dating back to the 1960s. Not everyone takes an academically positive view of a show like Laguna Beach, after all.

Clicking the image below will load a PDF with your adversarial scores, which were tabulated after giving you an extra three days or so to augment your discussions online.  I’ve included the total amount earned through augmentation here; if you squint, you might make out a kind of pattern.

Your scores for the projects themselves will be given out in class on Friday the 6th.  You will also receive exhaustive guides for the DAMAGES+ rubric used, if you require clarification beyond the typed feedback.  Take the time to read this carefully.

When you return to your review of Inception, use your practice run, if you completed it on time, to help you revise and reflect.  You should also revisit the many model texts we studied over a month or so.  This is the last paper many of you will write in this course, and you should take some pride in it.

And that brings up two issues: you as a student and the end of your school year.


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The original assignment:

After watching the film [The Mysterious Explorations of Jasper Morello], draft a review.  Submit it on Monday, April 18th—upload a copy to Turnitin, if you are going to be absent—and it will be returned after our pseudo-break as a formative step toward our study of Inception.

This was preceded by many, many, many explorations of film criticism as a vehicle for critical thought and commentary.  And, as a practice run of sorts, this Jasper Morello review was given a curve in the gradebook: Any paper earning a 70 or higher (i.e., any paper meeting maybe half of the most basic requirements of a response) also received a 50/50 boost, which is effectively a 15-point curve (a 70 becomes an 85 overall, since the draft is half-weighted—but you know all this).  Here are the scores:

The DAMAGES rubric breaks down into seven distinct areas, and you have spent enough time with it this year to use those numbers alone to derive substantial, significant feedback.  You also have brief commentary to focus you, and if you handed in a hard copy on Monday or Tuesday, red ink aplenty on the printed page.  (You will receive everything back on Monday the 25th.)  Do not settle for looking at the numbers or my scrawled commentary, however; dig out the guidelines, weigh limited against inadequate or adequate, and use that insight to gear up for the real review next week.

If you didn’t do this review, of course, you have no feedback, no practice, and a zero.

Update: DAMAGES+ guidelines
The following are revised versions of the DAMAGES guides uploaded earlier in the year.  The Documents page has been updated, too.  Use these to clarify your performance, and expect to see them all again when your Inception reviews are scored.

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Whether we like it or not, Media Studies has entered the final countdown.  65% of you will leave to pursue your SEE projects on May 13th (appropriately, a Friday), and the rest of you will endure less than a month after that before the end of things.  I want us to end well—no bangs and no whimpers—and that will take a concerted effort on your part.

The most recent adversarial grades, covering our attempts to generate a DAMAGES framework for film criticism, have been entered directly into the gradebook.  Your score reflects the number of points you earned:

  • 24-36: A (90-100)
  • 12-21: B (80-89)
  • 0-9: C (70-79)

The relative lack of points underscores the necessity of augmentation.  You must seize the opportunities provided to improve your grade, and as the year ends, those opportunities may very well determine your final average.

What follows is an overview of how the TV projects will be adversarially discussed, collected, and scored from April 25th through April 29th.


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Click here to load a copy of your scores and commentary for your responses to this post:

The scores and general comments are arranged by student number.  Please take the time to review your peer’s comments, as well, through Turnitin; in most cases, you will find helpful feedback there.  If you would like further clarification from me, schedule an appointment this week.

Information on revisions: You may revise these papers for a new grade.  If you choose to do this, you have until midnight on Friday, April 1st.  You need only to upload a digital copy to Turnitin.  You may also choose to write a reflection; this optional reflection, if it is well done, will earn you enrichment credit.  A reflection of 500 or more words will be worth 50 enrichment points, and one of 1000 or more words will earn 100 enrichment points.  Any reflection writing must be submitted by midnight on 4/1 to Turnitin.

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Grades have been entered this morning for two assignments: the comparative analysis paper handed in on 1/3 and the adversarial discussion completed online and in class between 1/3 and 1/10.  Use the Student Portal to see your scores.  You will not receive direct commentary on either assignment; instead, you should read the general feedback below and follow those instructions.

First, the adversarial: As always, you received points for insight, collegiality, and participation.  Because some of you failed to use the time provided in class to leave any comments, I will not scan and post the adversarial tallies; instead, I will simply list how points were earned:

  • Comment: +1
  • Length and/or insight of comment: +1/+2
  • Specific references to content: +1
  • Collaboration/collegiality: +1

Again, this is nothing new, and we will continue to use the adversarial format for Q3 and Q4.  If you are not participating effectively (or at all) in these discussions in class and online, you should speak to me to see what can be done to facilitate your involvement.

Second, the comparative analysis: Considering the amount of time and discussion devoted to your responses in and out of class, these were quite the mixed bag.  Some of you wrote thoughtful and considered essays; some of you did not.  If you would like the commentary for your paper, which I have kept separate, you must request that feedback in an email.  If you write me and ask for your score to be explicated, I will reply with that information.  Otherwise, we are moving on.

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By the time you read this, your scores for the ad campaign work you submitted before break will be posted to Infinite Campus and available to you through the Student Portal.  This post will not revisit the assignment, nor will it outline exactly how much time and direction you had in and out of class for this work; you are more than capable of doing that on your own, once you have seen copies of your scored rubrics.  I will say that the work you all shared before break was splendid, and that watching your videos and hearing about your campaigns was a fine note to leave on.  Keep in mind as you check your scores and read my feedback that the grades were built on your explications and, therefore, your understanding of all the material covered during our advertising unit.

To help you make sense of your performances, here is a copy of the dossier for one group’s project.  They received the highest scores here (although many groups did exceptionally well), and I invite you to compare your work to what you find below; notice that this group meets every requirement, answers every question, and uses the right terminology, including references to material covered in class and through your background reading.  It is not a flawless dossier, but it earned a nearly perfect score.  This was not an exercise in photography or advertising itself, after all.  It was an exercise in synthesizing analytical frameworks and emulating a particular set of media machinations.

The exemplary dossier:


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