Requirements & Grading


  • Careful reading of all assignments
  • Regular attendance at all class meetings and events
  • Active (and informed) participation in class discussion
  • Weekly problem sets (questions, research assignments, short writing assignments, and more)
  • Two blog posts (on some news or insight on the world today)
  • Two short exams
  • Research paper (8-10 pp.)
  • One formal presentation
  • Final examination


Your grade will measure your effort, the level of your thinking and writing, as well as the progress you make across the semester.  The following is offered as a rough guide and we reserve the right to modify it.  It assumes a good faith effort on all assignments.

  • 10% participation (coming to class prepared, contributing to discussion)
  • 30% weekly problem sets
  • 5% blog posts
  • 20% short exams
  • 20% research paper
  • 15% final examination

We will grade weekly problem sets, blog posts and presentations on a check/check plus/check minus scale, in which a check equals 5 of 6 points, a check plus equals 6 of 6 points, and a check minus equals 4 of 6 points.

We follow the College of Wooster guidelines for grading. A grade in the “A” range (90-100) indicates excellent work, the “B” range (80-89) indicates good work, the “C” range (70-79) indicates adequate work, the “D” range (60-69) indicates a minimal performance. A grade of “F” (below 60) indicates unsatisfactory work or the failure to complete all course work.

A few extra credit opportunities will be given during the semester. Grade penalties will be applied for poor attendance and/or distractions.