Examining and Grading

5.1

......................................................................................Testing large classes in small rooms

5.2

...................................................................................................................Grading Schemes

5.3

........................................................University Wide Standard Deferred Standing Agreement

5.4

..............................................................................................................Grades Sheet Policy

5.5

..............................................................................................................Grades Reappraisals

5.6 ...................................................................Conversions between percentage and letter grade
5.7 ..................................................................................................Scheduling Tests and Exams
5.8 .....................................................................................................Final Date for Term Work
5.9 ................................................................................................................Grading Assistance
5.10 .................................................................................................................Student Evaluation
5.11 .....................................................................................Important Deadlines for our Students
5.1 Testing large classes in small rooms

Academic dishonesty is a significant problem and class morale can suffer if the instructor is not seen to be taking effective measures to prevent it. Consult with a Sectional Director (for proper procedures and advice) if you suspect there may have been a violation. You may consider various alternative preventative measures including: (1) booking extra rooms to facilitate reasonable seating arrangements (contact Antonietta by email, dellapia@mathstat.yorku.ca, at least 2 days, preferably 2 weeks, in advance); (2) ensure sufficient and active invigilation (see Mort Abramson if extra TA support is required); (3) consider multiple versions of the test and alternating by seat; (4) sign in sheets are a must ("but Professor I was there"); (5) checking photo ID is highly recommended; and, (6) count the collected tests immediately and compare with class count.


5.2 Grading Schemes

Most of our courses are in three Faculties: Arts, Atkinson and Pure and Applied Science. We face the problem of satisfying policies and regulations of three faculties. Please note the following requirements from the Faculty of Arts section of the 1995-97 York Calendar, p. 79

Marking Scheme:

Announcement in Class: The means of determining a student's final grade must be announced in writing in each course within the first two weeks of classes. Such information must include the kinds of assignments, essays, examinations, and other components which make up the grade; their relative weights' and any other procedures which enter into the determination of the final grade.

Subsequent Changes: In exceptional circumstances, a previously announced marking scheme for a course may be changed, but only with the consent of all students; the new marking scheme must also be distributed in written form.

"Feedback" During Course: Instructors are obligated to provide a mechanism by which students can be apprised of their progress in a course; in particular, students must be able to make an informed decision on whether to withdraw from a course. This will normally mean that students will receive some graded feedback on work worth at least 10% (20% is required by the Faculty of Pure and Applied Science) of the course grade before the deadline for withdrawing from that course (see withdrawal deadlines in item 4.16 below). Instructors are urged to provide more feedback where possible. Note that students should receive feedback which is meaningful with respect to their final letter grade (see also Section 4.10).

From the Faculty of Pure and Applied Science section of the 1995-97 York Calendar, p. 143:

All final grades, including those assigned after deferred examinations, are calculated in a way which assigns a specific weighting to the term work done in addition to the final (or deferred) examination. The weighting is set by the course director. The students are informed of this weighting within the first 10 class days for all courses.

Some graded feedback worth at least 20 percent of the final grade is received by students in all courses (excepting those senior undergraduate courses, such as honours theses, where course work consists of a single piece of work) prior to the final date to withdraw from a course without receiving a grade.

The total value of any in-class test(s) or in-class examination(s) given in the last two weeks of classes in a term cannot be greater than 20 percent of the final mark for the course.

Term work in any course may not be submitted later than the first day of the final examination period for the course. Earlier final dates for the submission of term work may be set at the discretion of the department/division concerned.

The student is responsible for ensuring that all written term work is received by the instructor concerned.

Please try to avoid complicated grading schemes, which only produce confused reappraisal requests at the end of term. On a topic related to grading schemes, the Department passed the following motion some years ago.

At the request of any instructor of a multi-sectioned course, the coordinator of that course shall submit to the Undergraduate Director, by the end of the first week of classes, a statement outlining (1) whether or not a common final will be held; (2) the weight of the final(s) in computing the overall grade; (3) the general format of the common final (as agreed to by the instructors). Instructors shall announce to their classes by the end of the second week of lectures, the results of the above.


5.3 University Wide Standard Deferred Standing Agreement

Up to now, these Deferred Standing Agreements were not applicable to courses in all faculties, nor to students from all faculties. For instructors, this means that you can now negotiate your own arrangements with all of your students, no matter what their home faculty (not only Arts, as before). (For Arts students, this means that they can now negotiate their own arrangements no matter what faculty the course is in.) Unchanged from before is the fact that there are still deadlines, and if the student and instructor don't agree, it goes to the Petitions Committee of the student's home faculty.

 

5.4 Grades Sheet Policy

Senate approved the "Grades Sheet Policy", which reads:

After final grades for a course have been submitted in each term, it is the responsibility of the Course Director to submit to the Department offering the course, the course grade sheet(s) (hard copy or electronic) containing each registered student's grades for every graded component of the course, the percentage weighting of each component, the record of students' attendance where it is relevant in determining a participation mark and the dates upon which the grades for each component were made available to the students. The grade sheets are to be kept in a designated Department Office for no less than one year.

Accordingly, would you please give the Undergraduate Office copies of your grade sheets as described above. (This means, that if a student needs a petition form to be filled out, and the instructor is away, the office could then provide the information.)

5.5 Grade Reappraisals

Students may, with sufficient academic grounds, request that a final grade in a course be reappraised (which may mean the review of specific pieces of tangible work).

Students are normally expected to first contact the course director to discuss the grade received and to request that their tangible work be reviewed. Tangible work may include written, graphic, digitized, etc., but not oral work.

From Mort Abramson:

I assume this means that a student may request that all tests, assignments, quizzes, exams be reappraised. I also assume that the student should first see the instructor of the course (and not the director or co-ordinator of a multi-section course) I am not clear (as of now) what is meant by 'sufficient academic grounds'.

As before, if after a review by the instructor of the course "the student is still not satisfied with the final grade or the course director is not available to review the work, they may submit a formal request for a grade reappraisal.

 

5.6 Conversions between percentage and letter grades

Both the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Pure and Applied Science have passed recent legislation concerning the relationship between percentage and letter grades. In both faculties, the new rules were met with considerable debate, to which our department contributed generously to both sides! There will probably be a number of different interpretations but the following is what appears in the 1995-97 York Calendar entry (in electronic form only, it can be read through your local Internet carrier) of the Faculty of Pure and Applied Science:

When necessary to calculate averages, the grade-point equivalencies are as listed below. The percentage equivalencies used within the Faculty of Pure and Applied Science are also listed.

letter grade

value

grade-point

average range

grade-point

range

percentage

range

A+ 9 8.5+ 90-100
A 8 7.5-8.4 80-89
B+ 7 6.5-7.4 75-79
B 6 5.5-6.4 70-74
C+ 5 4.5-5.4 65-69
C 4 3.5-4.4 60-64
D+ 3 2.5-3.4 55-59
D 2 1.5-2.4 50-54
E 1 0.1-1.4 40-49
F 0 0 0-39

In Arts, the rules are spelled out in a slightly different, but not necessarily inconsistent, way. The motion, passed in Faculty Council in October 1993, reads in part:

In courses where percentages are used as a means of reporting grades on individual pieces of work, the following conversion table is to be used in converting percentage grades to letter grades, unless alternative provisions for scaling and/or conversion are announced to students in writing within the first two weeks of classes.

From

Percentage

To Letter

Grade

90-100 A+
80-89 A
75-79 B+
70-74 B
65-69 C+
60-64 C
55-59 D+
50-54 D
40-49 E
0-39 F

If you feel that there are many fine points that are not resolved in these proposals, you will find many sympathetic colleagues in the department. The most recent version of a memo from the Faculty Council attempts to clarify the policy as it applies to Arts.

5.7 Scheduling Tests and Exams

The following material is well known to experienced members but needs to be stated for the benefit of new members.

Excerpted from the Faculty of Arts section of the 1995-96 electronic Calendar:

Tests and Examinations During the Term:

Restriction at End of Term: In the Fall/Winter Session, the total value of any test(s) or examination(s) given in the last two weeks of classes in a term must be no more than 20 percent of the final mark for the course.

Scheduling of Tests: Except where testing is conducted during individual appointments, tests or examinations during the term must be held within the hours regularly scheduled for the course in question.

From the Faculty of Pure and Applied Science 1995-96 electronic Calendar:

The total value of any in-class test(s) or in-class examination(s) given in the last two weeks of classes in a term cannot be greater than 20 percent of the final mark for the course.

5.8 Final Date for Term Work

Both faculties provide deadlines for the submission of term work. These deadlines are mandatory not only for students but also for instructors. It is not permissible to set a deadline for handing in term work that is later than the faculty legislated deadlines. It seems that the purpose is to allow students to concentrate on preparing for final exams during the final exam period. It has been suggested that a later deadline is possible provided the piece of work is described as a "take-home" component of the final exam.

Excerpted from the Faculty of Arts section of the 1995-97 York Calendar, p. 80:

Deadline for submission: Term work must be submitted by the first day of the official Examination Period of the term in which the course ends. Instructors, departments, and divisions may, however, set earlier deadlines for the submission of term work.

From the Faculty of Pure and Applied Science 1995-96 electronic Calendar:

Term work in any course may not be submitted later than the first day of the final examination period for the course. Earlier final dates for the submission of term work may be set at the discretion of the department/division concerned.

Of course, it could be impossible to meet the requirements on adequate feedback (see 4.9) unless earlier deadlines are set!


5.9 Grading Assistance

Course directors eligible for grading assistance have been informed of the names of students assigned to them for grading. It is the course coordinator's responsibility to allot graders to the other instructors teaching the course. During the current academic year, matters relating to graders and problem sessions leaders will be handled by the Associate Chair with the help of the Undergraduate Office.

Markers are assigned to you in the larger courses that you teach. You are given X hours of person Y's time. This job that person Y is doing is a union job. Please remember:

Do not ask your marker to work more than the number of hours that you are allotted.

As the course progresses, keep track of how quickly you are using up your marker's time. Fill and return the TA Workload forms available under the counter in N520 as required. If you don't budget your TA's time well, you may have to mark those last assignments yourself.

If you realize that you will be using your marker for substantially fewer hours than the number allotted, please take appropriate action. You can modify the nature of grading in assignments or advise the Associate Chair that you do not need all the allotted hours. It is damaging to the morale of graduate students who are expected to work a full load to see some colleagues getting a much lighter load and an unfair academic advantage.

If your marker tells you that she is in danger of exceeding her hours, this is his/her formal warning to you as required by his/her union contract. Take the warning seriously.

If your marker is taking n hours to do a job which you think should only take n/2 hours, discuss the problem with the marker, the course coordinator, a Section Director or the Chair. But don't ignore the problem.

In the past, students who do not work the total hours assigned have been asked to assist with invigilation. If your student owes hours, please inform Anna Cavaliere.

Regular discussions with your marker as to how his/her work is going will probably result in good relations and smooth sailing.


5.10 Student Evaluation

Towards the end of each term, the students have their say on the course you teach. We use student questionnaires with the student's name on a tear-off strip. Antonietta Della Pia Vian has coded the completed questionnaires and the tear-off strips (using a non-forgetful functor).

Upon receipt of reasonable notice you may study the questionnaires which were completed and returned to us for your courses, but you will have to do this without removing them from the Department and you must return them to Antonietta. The reason for this excessive security is that the questionnaires are used in making decisions about tenure, promotion and merit pay. The integrity of the questionnaires must not be open to doubt.

We keep questionnaires for three years for tenured members and for five years for non-tenured members and then discard them. You are entitled, and in fact encouraged, but not required to submit written comments on each course that you have taught. You can say anything you like. These comments will be kept in the same envelope as the questionnaires for that course. The purpose is clear; the students have their say, you have yours. When you submit your comments please be sure Antonietta knows that they are to go with the questionnaires and please date them.

 

5.11 Important deadlines for our students

Undergraduate Sessional Dates Sessional Dates for Fall/Winter 1999-2000 (Sept99-Apr00)

Activity Term F Term W Term Y
Class Start/End Dates:      
Class Start Date September 7 January 3 September 7
Class End Date December 6 March 31 March 31
Examinations:      
Examinations start

(Fall Term)

December 8 N/A December 8
Examinations end

(Fall Term)

December 22 N/A December 22
Examinations start

(Winter Term)

N/A April 3 April 3
Examinations end

(Winter Term)

N/A April 28 April 28
Term Work:      
Last Date to Submit Term Work (Fall Term) December 8 N/A December 8
Last Date to Submit Term Work (Winter Term) N/A April 3 April 3
Final Grades:    
Last day to announce components of final grades September 17 January 7 September 17
Enrolment and Drop Deadlines:    
Last date to enrol without permission of the instructor September 18 January 15 September 18
Last date to enrol with permission of the instructor October 1 January 28 October 15
Last date to drop courses without receiving a grade November 5 March 3 February 11

Schedule of Holidays, Observances, and Reading Week (Fall/Winter 1999-00)

Event University closed? Classes held? Exams held? Services available? VRES available?
Labour Day:

September 6

yes no no no no
Rosh Hashanah:

September 11-12

no no* no* yes yes
Yom Kippur:

September 20

no no no* yes yes
Thanksgiving:

October 11

yes no no no no
New Year's Day:

January 1

yes no no no no
Reading Week:

February 14-19

no no no yes yes
Good Friday:

April 21

yes no no no no
Passover:

April 20-21

no yes no* yes yes
Passover:

April 26-27

no yes no* yes yes

*No classes or exams on the evening prior to, nor during the day of, the religious Holy Day.

Note: Information provided by the Office of the Registrar.


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