Physics 218


Last page update 1/11/09

Point Distribution

W09 Notice

Since this is a new (for me) text, and also my first use of Mastering Physics, these fractions (except for the lab) may change during the semester.  That is why there are tentative percentages listed for homework and tests.  If I think the on-line homework format is great, then it will be the greater percentage.

Lab 25%

The lecture course, and the lab course must be taken simultaneously.  Overall, the lab work will make up 25% of your grade.  If you are passing both the lecture and the lab, then your grades will show up separately, as appropriate.  However, if you are averaging less than 60% on all your lab work, I may opt to make your lab worth 50% of your overall grade instead of 25%.  Don't be a lab slacker.  Generally, missed labs cannot be made up.  I will, however, assume everyone will miss at least one lab, and factor that into the averages.  The format for the lab write-up can be found here

Tests: 45-55%

There will be four tests, including the final.  The current plan is for the "final" to be "just another test"  (i.e. non-comprehensive).  This may change before the end of the semester, but you will have ample warning if this happens.  The tests will include a multiple choice component (~20%), and a problem solving component (~80%).  The tests will be done during the lab period on Thursday, to give you a bit more time.  During the tests, you are allowed to use a calculator and any notes you can write on both sides of a 3x5 card.  Except for extraordinary circumstances, there will be no make-up tests.  For slightly less extraordinary circumstances, (e.g. you get elected governor of California, or have to accept a Nobel prize) I might consider letting you take a test early.

Homework 10-20%

Homework problems will be listed on the Assignments web page.  Generally, homework will be due in class on Monday.  Some of the homework problems will be worked out during class time.  I will try to have a student grader for this class.  They will likely do "spot grading" on the homework.  That means they will verify that you have done the problems, and then grade in detail one or two of those problems.  Late assignments will not be accepted.  I will, however, assume everyone will miss one assignment and factor that into homework averages.  If there is a grader for this class, I may include a "scale factor" for this componenet of your grade to account for any percieved discrepancies between your recorded score and your effort.

You must obey the following guidelines on all homework assignments, or potentially lose points (typically 1 point out of 10 per infraction):

Class Participation, Reading Quizzes, and Instructor TBD 10%

There will be regular reading "quizzes" in class over the assigned reading for the day.  These will typically be given via the PRS.  Most of the credit will be for participation and discussions.  (Part of the purpose of these quizzes will be to verify that you are showing up to the lectures.)  The secondary purpose will be to see if you have done the reading.  I will also evaluate class participation via personal folders and three minute papers, as will be explained in class.  You will regularly be asked to present example and homework problems to the class.

The Curve

Since my tests are rather challenging, I will occasionally grade then on a curve.  However, the curve may be based partly on the performance of previous classes.  I will think about assigning final grades on a curve (up, but not down).   The curve may require additional work on your part, so it will be important to attend classes before and after tests to clarify procedures.  This issue is TBD.

Final Note

The instructor reserves the right to pro-actively change the class schedule and grade distributions during the semester.  The department policies on this matter are listed here: Department Grading Policies.  This link should also cover anything not covered on this page.