Test #1 Results

The most popular term, by far, was “Columbian Exchange” followed by “Martin Luther,” “Abolition” and “The Bill of Rights.”

As with the pop quizzes, I scored each answer on a 4-point scale, then added up the results. The high score in the class was 42 out of a possible 48 (before extra credit), which I used as the 100% mark (which raised everyone’s grades a lot). The median score was a B or B-. Here’s how the grade scale worked out:

Grade minimum points distribution
A+ 42
A 39.8 15%
A- 37.8
B+ 34.8
B 30.3 45%
B- 27.3
C+ 24.3
C 19.8 20%
C- 16.8
D+ 13.8
D 9.3 20%
D- 6.3
F 0

This looks pretty good, but remember two things. The extra credits were a very helpful: most people got both right, and each grade scale was only three points or a bit more. The top score is very likely to go up in later tests, which means that everyone has to improve just to stay even.

Finally, I was, as I noted, very disappointed by the number of answers which parroted back the textbook’s sidebar definitions. Here are a few examples of how those definitions compare to answers which actually got good scores (3.5 or 4 out of 4) below the fold. My favorite example is the last one: notice how the textbook sidebar definition almost entirely fails to mention what makes Cornwallis important in this chapter, but the student definition ignores all the irrelevant stuff and goes right to significance? Note that the student definitions aren’t perfect but they very clearly cover the context, often mention and define related terms, and are especially good on significance, why the term/person/etc. mattered:

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Fall 2009 Textbook for History 102: World History Since 1500 (sections 2 and 4)

The textbook we’ll be using is;

Voyages in World History: Volume 2 Since 1500 by Valerie Hansen and Kenneth R. Curtis.

If you want to order it online, make sure that you get the second volume: the ISBN for that is 978-0618077250

This is a new textbook for me, and looks quite readable and complete. I’ve used Valerie Hansen’s textbook on early China for years and have great respect for her scholarship and writing.


I forgot, when I put the syllabus together, to note where the CD-Rom readings can be found. The Machiavelli for Monday, in particular, is a bit off from our schedule: It’s in chapter 19. If you don’t have the CD-ROM, or want to read the whole thing, you can find it here. (The assigned readings are chapters V and XVIII; Machiavelli’s most famous line is here)

Typo Alert

There’s a typo in the text. Normally I don’t worry about these, but when it’s a name that only appears once … anyway, on p. 707 where it’s referring to “the corrupt favorite” of the Qianlong Emperor, the name is given as “Hensho” when it should be “Heshen” (or “Hoshen” in the old Wade-Giles system, which is probably where the typo came from).