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Important Late-Breaking Announcement About English 25 Final Exam

Page history last edited by Alan Liu 2 years, 3 months ago

June 3, 2020


Dear English 25 students,


Due to recent developments, the course TAs and I have made the decision to make the final exam for English 25 a "no-fault" exam. Students will be required to take the exam to pass the course; but the grade for the exam will only be used if it improves a student's final grade in the course (not if if worsens the final grade).


The reason for this last-minute change is to take pressure and worry off students at the end of this extraordinarily disruptive quarter while still retaining the exam as a learning and assessment experience. Before this week, the TAs and I were already picking up distress signals from some students who were in increasingly difficult circumstances (e.g., due to their household situation, lack of reliable electronic access to course materials, travel and visa problems, etc.); and on top of that, of course, the upsetting events of the past week-and-a-half related to the death of George Floyd as well as the protests and other events that many UCSB students have been involved in have now added a whole extra set of concerns for students. After receiving queries from some students, I decided (after consulting the TAs and also campus administrators) that the best way forward to accommodate the differing needs of students is a required but "no-fault" final exam.


For students caught up in difficulties, stress, or current events, this relieves the extra worry of the exam. For students who are looking to the exam to help improve their grade, this provides the opportunity to do so. And for students who might already have a high grade level, this gives them the chance either to improve further or at a minimum to have a meaningful assessment of their learning.


So the bottom line is: students must take the final exam to the pass the course; but the grade for the exam can only help you, not hurt you.


Final Grade Calculation With a No-fault exam:

At the end of the course, the TAs will determine your final grade by comparing the results of two calculations. In calculation 1, they will first determine your grade without including the final exam by giving each of the required assignments up until that point (the three essays and the midterm exam) a weighting of 22.5% (summing to 90%), and then adding in your section participation grade with a weighting of 10%. In calculation 2, they will next work out what your final grade would be including the final exam according to the original weighting scheme defined for the course (18% for each of the three essays and the two exams, summing to 90%, plus 10% for section participation). If the final exam helps you, they will include it in the final grade. If it makes things worse for you, they will not include it in the grade.

      Note: for the time being, students will need to make their own best estimate of what their current grade in the course is, which will only be an estimate because the final essay may not have been graded yet and students will not yet know their section participation grade.


Best wishes to all of you.
Alan first name signature


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