Grade Profiles: What Each Grade RepresentsThe Grade of FThe essence of F level work is that the student demonstrated a pattern of unscientific thinking and/or failed to dothe required work of the course.A closeexamination reveals: The student does not understand the basic nature ofbiological thinking, and in anycase does not display the biological thinking skills and abilities which are at the heart of this course. The work atthe end of the course is vague, imprecise, and unreasoned as it was in the beginning.There is little evidence thatthe student is genuinely engaged in the task of taking charge of his or her thinking. Many assignments appear tohave been done pro forma, the student simply going through the motions without really putting any significanteffort into thinking his or her way through them. Consequently, the student is not analyzing issues clearly, notformulating information clearly, not accurately distinguishing the relevant from the irrelevant, not identifying keyquestionable assumptions, not clarifying key concepts, not identifying relevant competing points of view, notreasoning carefully from clearly stated premises, or tracing implications and consequences. The students workdoes not display discernible scientific reasoning and problem-solving skills.The Grade of DThe essence ofD-Level work is that it demonstrates only a minimal level of understanding and skill in biologicalthinking.D level work shows only a minimal level of understanding of what biological thinking is, along withthedevelopment of some, but very little, biological thinking skills or abilities. Dwork at the end of the course, onthe whole, shows only occasional biologicalthinking skills, but frequent unscientific thinking. Most assignmentsarepoorly done. Thereis little evidence that the student is "reasoning" throughthe assignment in a scientificmanner. Often the student seems to be merelygoing through the motions of the assignment, carrying out the formwithoutgetting into the spirit of it. D work rarely shows any effort to take charge ofideas, assumptions, inferences,and intellectual processes. In general, D-levelthinking lacks discipline and clarity. In D-level work, the studentrarelyanalyzes issues clearly and precisely, almost never formulates informationclearly, rarely distinguishes therelevant from the irrelevant, rarely recognizeskey questionable assumptions, almost never clarifies key conceptseffectively,frequently fails to use language in keeping with educated usage, only rarelyidentifies relevantcompeting points of view, and almost never reasonscarefully from clearly stated premises, or recognizes importantimplicationsand consequences. D-level work does not show good scientific reasoning andproblem-solving skills andfrequently displays poor reasoning and problem-solving skills.The Grade of CThe essence of C-Ievel work is that it demonstrates more than a minimal levelof skill, but it is also highlyinconsistent, with as many weaknesses as strengths.C-level work illustrates some but inconsistent achievement in grasping what biological thinking is, along with thedevelopment of modest biological thinking skills or abilities. C-level work at the end of the course, it is true,showssome emerging biological thinking skills, but also pronouncedweaknesses as well. Though some assignments arereasonably well done,others are poorly done; or at best are mediocre. There are more thanoccasional lapses inreasoning. Though biological thinking terms anddistinctions are sometimes used effectively, sometimes they areused quiteineffectively. Only on occasion does C-level work display a mind takingcharge ofits own ideas,assumptions, inferences, and intellectual processes.Only occasionally does C-Ievel work display intellectualdiscipline and clarity.The C-Ievel student only occasionally analyzes issues clearly and precisely,formulatesinformation clearly, distinguishes the relevant from the irrelevant,recognizes key questionable assumptions,clarifies key concepts effectively,uses language in keeping with educated usage, identifies relevantcompetingpoints of view, and reasons carefully from clearly stated premises, orrecognizes important implicationsand consequences. Sometimes the C-levelstudent seems to be simply going through the motions of theassignment,carrying out the form without getting into the spirit of it. On the whole,C-Ievel work shows onlymodest and inconsistent reasoning and problem-solving skills and sometimes displays weak reasoning andproblem-solvingskills.
The Grade of BThe essence of B-Ievel work is that it demonstrates more strengths thanweaknesses and is more consistent in highlevel performance than C-Ievel work.It nevertheless has some distinctive weaknesses, though no major ones.B-Ievelwork represents demonstrable achievement in grasping what biologicalthinking is, along with the cleardemonstration of a range of specific biologicalthinking skills or abilities.B-Ievel work at the end of the course is, onthewhole, clear, precise, and well-reasoned, though with occasional lapses intoweak reasoning. On the whole,biological thinking terms and distinctions areused effectively. The work demonstrates a mind beginning to takecharge ofits own ideas, assumptions, inferences, and intellectual processes. The studentoften analyzes issuesclearly and precisely, often formulates information clearly, usually distinguishes the relevant from the irrelevant,often recognizeskey questionable assumptions, usually clarifies key concepts effectively,typically uses language inkeeping with educated usage, frequently identifiesrelevant competing points of view, and shows a generaltendency to reasoncarefully from clearly stated premises, as well as noticeable sensitivity toimportant implicationsand consequences.B-Ievel work displays goodscientific reasoning and problem-solving skills.The Grade of AThe essence of A-level work is that is demonstrates excellence overall with no major weaknesses.A-levelwork demonstrates real achievement in grasping what biological thinking is,along with the cleardevelopment of a range of specific biological thinkingskills or abilities. The work at the end of the course is, on thewhole, clear,precise, and well-reasoned, though with occasional lapses into weakreasoning. In A-level work,biological thinking terms and distinctions are usedeffectively. The work demonstrates a mind beginning to takecharge of itsown ideas, assumptions, inferences, and intellectual processes. The A-levelstudent usually analyzesissues clearly and precisely, usually formulatesinformation clearly, usually distinguishes the relevant from theirrelevant,usually recognizes key questionable assumptions, usually clarifies keyconcepts effectively, typicallyuseslanguage in keeping with educated usage,frequently identifies relevant competing points of view, and shows ageneraltendency to reason carefully from clearly stated premises, as well as noticeablesensitivity to importantimplications and consequences. A-level work displaysexcellent reasoning and problem-solving skills. The Astudents work is consistently at a high level of intellectual excellence. Grading System In accordance with the descriptions above, your final grade will be representative of your comprehension of thebiological ideas discussed this term and your ability to display biological thinking skills using this information. You may projectyour final grade according to the following types of assessment weighted by the following percentages: 50% TESTS - At appropriate times in the development of the course, approximately once every two weeks, a full- period test will be given typically following a format which relies heavily on short-answer and paragraph long responses. These assessments will be the most significant measure of your learning, understanding, and thinking and have the most influence on your overall performance grade. 20% EXAM - A comprehensive final exam will be given at the conclusion of the term. It will require an understanding of all topics discussed in the term and the use of skills developed in this class and in the core science curriculum.30% Other Assignments– At times during the term, other graded assignments will be given. General participation in class discussion, specific graded classroom presentations and homework assignmentswill also play a role in this grade, as well as: LABS - The laboratory program for the term will include two types of assignment. Prelabs will be due the day of the lab and reinforce the understandings and concepts required of students before they attempt the lab. The actual labs may not necessarily require a formal write-up, but students will be expected to at least answer several questions requiring analysis of data and synthesis concepts relevant to the lab experience. QUIZZES - Reading Quizzes will check a students’ comprehension of reading assignments in a few quick questions taken after the reading is completed. Other quizzes taken during class will also be included in this category. EFFORT - Your final grade is based on your performance. Reliable and valid assessments concerning effortare not attempted, nor does a subjective evaluation of effort affect the final grade assigned to represent your understanding of biological thinking. Effort does, however, play a major role in your successful performance in all classes and heavily influences student culpability in the event of poor performance.