# Test Three Results

As with the first test, each question was worth up to 4 points, for a possible total of 36. The highest score in the class before extra credit was 30, a little lower; the median was a C+, and the distribution of grades was much more towards the center. The grade scale works out like this:

 Grade starts at distribution A+ 30 A 28.5 7% A- 27 B+ 25 B 22 30% B- 20 C+ 18 C 14 45% C- 12 D+ 10 D 7 17% D- 5 F under 5 1%

If you answered 9 questions, but failed to answer one from each chapter, I took a 2 point penalty off your grade. (If you didn’t answer all 9 questions, I did not)

If you want to discuss your performance, and how you can improve it next time, feel free to come by my office hours. If you want to dispute your grade, feel free to do so in writing.

I will be in the office for a good portion of tomorrow, Thursday, at least from 10-3; if you want to pick up your test on Friday, let me know because I haven’t set a schedule yet.

# Results from the First Test Post-Survey

The first test, like most of my survey tests, was a short-essay ID test, with terms taken from (and arranged by) the textbook chapters, supplemented with theory terms and a few names from the lectures. Twelve terms (out of 25 choices, out of about 50 terms on the study guide) over a 50-minute class.

The class after the first test, I did a short anonymous survey to see how people felt about the event. I feel reasonably good about the first question, though their views may change once they’ve actually seen grades: it suggests, though, that I prepped them appropriately for the kind of work. Question 2 is pretty typical results, it seems to me, though the “studied regularly” number should be higher given that I’ve assigned regular homework this semester which feeds directly into the test. The third question results are interesting: there doesn’t seem to be a correlation between amount of study time and expected grade (I’ve not actually performed any statistical tests on this data, though; N=28); the distribution of answers is a little more optimistic than my test results tend to be, but I won’t know until they’re graded. The comments are not particularly surprising, overall.

Quick Post-Test Survey

1. The test was

0%                  a. a cakewalk

15%                b. easier than I expected

60%                c. about as hard as I expected

20%                d. harder than I expected

5%                  e. impossible

2. I studied for the test

7.5%              a. not at all

15%                b. a little

25%                c. right before the test

20%                d. several hours in the week leading up to the test

7.5%              e. off and on for a few weeks

25%                f. every week, as part of regular homework

3. I think I got a grade of

10%                a. F

10%                b. D

27%                c. C

33%                d. B

20%                e. A

• I think 50 minutes for covering 12 definitions fully is not OK
• Multiple choice?
• Tough, but well rounded
• Seeing my grade will help me study for the next test
• Too many words on the study guide
• I’m guessing that if I had studied more I would have had a better outcome.
• Dates threw me off a lot.
• So many things on first list but not on the test, that it caused me to not learn the subjects
• I didn’t have the book long enough to study the material
• Ran out of time. Need about 15-20 minutes more, or learn to write less or faster.
• Not a good form/type of test.
• Unrealistic.

# World History to 1500 (Fall 2012)

I won’t be making extensive use of this site this term: I’ll be experimenting with our new Canvas LMS. But I’ll keep my resources here and the usual documents. Check out the tab above for the syllabus, basic assignments. And the Student Information Form is here, too.

# A note on final grades

As you know, for test grades I use the highest raw score in the class as the 100% mark and adjust everyone’s grades up accordingly. I don’t use a “curve” which assumes that there’s a certain percentage of the class which deserves A, B, C, etc.

I don’t use quite so dramatic an adjustment on the final course grades — since I’ve already done it on tests, and dropped the lowest one besides, it would be excessive. But I do shift the final raw scores up some.

Each question was worth up to 4 points, for a possible total of 32. The highest score in the class before extra credit was 26; the median was a B-, which is good, and nobody who took the test failed. The grade scale works out like this:

 Grade starts at distribution A+ 26 A 24.5 20% A- 23.25 B+ 21.25 B 18.75 40% B- 16.75 C+ 14.75 C 12.25 30% C- 10.25 D+ 8.25 D 5.75 10% D- 3.74 F under 0%

If you answered 8 questions, but failed to answer one from each chapter, I took a 2 point penalty off your grade. (If you didn’t answer all 8 questions, I did not)

If you want to discuss your performance, and how you can improve it next time, feel free to come by my office hours. If you want to dispute your grade, feel free to do so in writing.

For the overall test grade, the average of the highest 4 grades (including students who have not taken the last few tests), the median grade is right on the B-/C+ border and the approximate distribution was like this

 Grade %age A 15 B 35 C 25 D 5 F 20

# Extra Credit Opportunity: NASA lecture

Alan Glines, a retired NASA employee who worked in the control room of the Houston Space Center during the Apollo missions, will deliver a public lecture about recent Kepler Mission results at Pittsburg State University on Wednesday, April 11. Glines’ presentation, at 2 p.m. in 102 Yates Hall, is part of the 2012 Physics, Mathematics and Engineering Lecture Series. The list of planets orbiting distant stars is growing rapidly. These discoveries are the result of NASA’s Kepler Mission, a multi-year project that springs from mankind’s ongoing search for life among the stars.

I’m not terribly happy with the results of this essay, but it’s only one of many assignments that makes up your grades. The highest grade I gave on the essays was a B; the median and average were D and almost half of the registered population of the class didn’t hand in an essay (Yes, I take late assignments, with appropriate penalties; yes, it’s worth writing something and handing it in still, because even an F with penalties is worth a lot more than a zero). A few thoughts

The biggest grade-killers were essays that ignored instructions

• Essays that didn’t pick a century
• Essays that didn’t have anything to do with food history.
• Essays that didn’t focus on immigration, politics or the media
• Essays that focused on one, but didn’t address the “most important” question, assuming that “important” and “most important” were the same thing. (Some essays claimed to address the contrast/”more” aspect, but didn’t spend anywhere near enough time on the question to be serious.)
• Essays that drew material from one or two chapters and missed important aspects of the issue in other parts of the book.

I’ll try to be a little more aggressive about explaining what I’m looking for on the next essay and final exam essays, but all of those errors could be avoided by reading the instructions carefully.

# Test 2 results

Each question was worth up to 4 points, for a possible total of 32. The highest score in the class before extra credit, in both sections, was 27.5, and the median was again a solid C; the grade scale works out like this:

 Grade starts at distribution A+ 27.5 A 26 10% A- 25 B+ 23 B 20 20% B- 18 C+ 16 C 13 45% C- 11 D+ 9 D 6 20% D- 4 F under 4 5%

If you answered 8 questions, but failed to answer two from each chapter, I took a 2 point penalty off your grade. (If you didn’t answer all 8 questions, I did not)

If you want to discuss your performance, and how you can improve it next time, feel free to come by my office hours. If you want to dispute your grade, feel free to do so in writing.

# My Campus, Our Future

The PSU administration is calling on students to invest – through a new student activities fee – in a substantial upgrade of campus facilities including the Student Center. Student participation in funding these projects would not only improve campus life, but would demonstrate the sense of community and long-term vision that attracts alumni and outside donors. Check out details at My Campus, Our Future

Students enrolled for the Spring 2012 semester  will have the opportunity to vote on an advisory referendum on the phased implementation of a new student fee to support the renovation and expansion of the Overman Student Center, the construction of a new Fine and Performing Arts Center, and the construction of a new Indoor Event Center.
Voting will be available from noon on Wednesday, March 7 through noon on Wednesday, March 14 and will be conducted on-line.