Grading and Assignments: History of Washington State and the Pacific Northwest
There is no curve for HSTAA 432. Course grades for HSTAA 432 will be calculated based on students' work in four different areas.
1. Short writing assignment about one of the primary-source readings, worth 15% of the total grade. Students may do this assignment more than once (although they may not rewrite the same paper), and the highest grade will be counted.
2. Midterm, worth 20% of the total grade.
3. Research paper of 7-10 pages, or the alternative project, worth 25% of the total grade. Students are encouraged to turn in outlines, introductions, rough drafts, etc. to the T.A. or professor to get feedback before writing the final version.
4. Final, blue-book essay exam, worth 25% of the total grade.
The short writing assignment requires students to turn in one one-page typed paper that analyzes some aspect of the primary-source readings assigned for Vancouver, Simpson, or Swan. These papers should not run longer than one side of one sheet of paper; however, they may be single-spaced with narrow margins and small fonts. The short papers are not meant to be book reviews or summaries; that is, they are not supposed to describe the reading. Rather, they ask students to reflect on the significance of the readings. The simplest way to find a topic for this paper is to answer one of the study questions that will be handed out each week to help guide students through the readings. But students are invited to take up any topic that interests them. The short papers are due at the very beginning of the section during which the reading is to be discussed, and thus should act as a stimulus to conversation. Students may want to (or be asked to) summarize the paper as part of the day's discussion. Students are welcome to submit more than one short paper; only the one with the best grade will be counted in the overall course grade. They cannot revise a previous short paper, however.
Students will take two blue-book, essay exams, a midterm and a final. These exams will entail writing integrative essays. That is, both exams require that students integrate factual information and ideas-from lectures, readings, and discussions-into cogent essays with theses or arguments that respond to the exam questions. In the exam essays, students are expected to make explicit reference to as many of the course readings as are pertinent to the exam questions. Students can expect to be asked to answer one of a few possible exam questions. The midterm exam covers Part I of the course. The final exam covers the Introduction and Parts I and II-the entire course.
Weekly discussion sections will be devoted to understanding the readings and relating them to one another and to themes raised in the lectures. General expectations for section include regular attendance, completion of each section's reading assignment, informed participation in discussion, and other work as specified by each T.A. The T.A.'s are responsible for developing their own grading criteria for each section, and will also grade the papers and exams.
Research papers of roughly 7-10 pages. Topics for the papers, to be chosen by students in consultation with T.A.'s or the professor, must clearly deal with themes raised during Part II of the course. Papers should be word-processed or typed double-spaced, with a proper form of footnotes, endnotes, or references. Students must consult primary sources, i.e. documents or other sorts of information (e.g. artifacts, interviews, film) created by contemporary participants in or observers of the historical events being considered. Students are expected to undertake research outside of the assigned readings, and will normally use secondary materials as well as primary sources. Like the exam essays, the research papers should have theses or arguments. Students are encouraged to discuss papers with T.A.'s or the professor, and to submit outlines, introductions, rough drafts, etc. for comments prior to writing the final version. However, the T.A.'s and professor must be allowed ample time to look over drafts.
Students may prepare an alternative project in lieu of research papers. Because so many prospective teachers enroll in HSTAA 432, I have devised an alternative research project with them in mind, although any student may choose this option. The assignment is to prepare a sample week-long lesson on a topic from Part II of the course, targeting secondary-school students and incorporating an array of primary-source materials. This lesson must include: 1) an introduction for teachers to the topic and its key issues, including a bibliography and suggested teaching strategies; and 2) an arrangement of edited, annotated, possibly excerpted, primary sources (most likely documents, but not necessarily), selected for distribution to students so that they can study the same materials that historians themselves use to study the past. Students must select and research their own topics, and then package the materials (the introduction as well as the primary sources) in a packet of some sort so that any teacher could pick it up and use it. Please note that I do not expect the packet of materials actually to be used in a secondary school without proper copyright permissions being obtained. There is a great deal of latitude here for students to choose themes of special interest to them, and to use such resources as museums or elderly people who might be willing to speak to students about events.
Please note that most of the written work for HSTAA 432 is scheduled for after the 4th week of the quarter, and students will not get midterm grades, most likely, until the 6th week. Please plan accordingly, keep up with the assigned readings, and do not wait until it is too late to do a good job on the research project. Keep the University's drop policy in mind.
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