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Assignments and Evaluation - PH426

Review the Time Management and Penalties for Late Assignment section carefully, as there are significant changes from the PH424 Assignments and Evaluation policies.

The Five Evaluation Categories

Note:  The letter codes given below correspond to those used in assignment descriptions.

Online Exercises (coded E or V):  You'll typically have a daily assignment that covers readings and video demonstrations or provides practice in problem-solving methods. Even if you're doing your best, you'll make some mistakes on these assignments. Rather than taking such mistakes to be failures on your part, you should consider them to be part of the learning process (as long you learn from your mistakes, of course). In order that any particular mistake has only a minor effect on your overall evaluation, this category is weighted 15% of the total grade.

Formal Problems (coded P):  During most weeks, you'll write several problem solutions in a formal style according to the course problem-solving guidelines. Writing problem solutions completely is one way that you demonstrate critical thinking and communication skills in physics. You'll be expected to show your work in similar ways on the free response portion of the AP exam.

Lab Assignments (coded L):  Some assignments involve taking and analyzing data and reporting on the results. Most of the equipment you'll need is provided to you in a lab kit. Labs can be done at home. While you may occasionally work with other students in taking data, you'll analyze your data and write reports on your own. 

Commitment (coded C or D):  This category is based primarily on your commitment to completing the homework assignments as well as on your participation in the required web conferencing sessions and communication-related activities such as required discussion boards and communications with your test proctor. This category is evaluated in a different fashion than the other categories in that for Commitment, you start out with 100 Commitment Points. Here are some possible reasons that your points could be reduced during the semester:

  • You neglect to submit a lab-related assignment. The deduction for any missed assignment will be 5 Commitment points in addition to the loss of points on the assignment itself. With the exception of prerequisite assignments such as prelabs, the Commitment deduction is not made for assignments submitted within 24 hours of the due date.

  • You have an absence from a required WebEx session. A deduction of 10 Commitment points is typical for an evening session and 25 points for a weekend session. This is in addition to any penalty for not completing work due during the missed session.

  • You are late to a WebEx session. You're late if you're not present when the instructor checks attendance. There's a loss of 1 Commitment point for each 5 minutes late up to a maximum of 10 points. If you do enter late, you must email the instructor at that time as a timestamp for when you entered the session.

  • Other possible reasons for loss of Commitment points include academic dishonesty, not completing the preparatory assignment for a WebEx session, submitting an incomplete assignment, neglecting to respond to communications from the teacher in a timely manner, not taking advantage of opportunities for rework, not participating in required discussion boards, and failing to submit more than one E, V, or P type assignment during a quarter.

You'll receive a Commitment score for each quarter of the course. This provides an indicator of whether your commitment is increasing, decreasing, or remaining steady.

Quizzes and Tests (T):  

You'll take quizzes and tests under the supervision of a proctor.

Quizzes will be given to evaluate your problem-solving skills in a particular content area. Such quizzes are generally announced a week in advance, cover 1 chapter or part of a chapter, and are limited to 45 minutes. The quiz questions are typically multiple choice, numeric response, and other objective question types in addition to a few free response questions.

Tests will typically be on paper, will cover 2-3 chapters at a time, and will be 90 minutes long. Keep in mind that all tests are cumulative in the sense that you're responsible for major problem-solving methods taught from the beginning of the course. (Note that there are three major problem-solving methods taught in introductory physics.) There will be 4 tests, including the final exam, in the semester. The schedule for the cumulative tests can be found in the Course Outline.

In line with the College Board policy of allowing graphing calculators on the AP exams, you're allowed to use a graphing calculator and the constants and equations found here on quizzes and tests in this course.

important note Here are some specific testing policies.

  • Every quiz and test begins with the course academic honesty policy. Signing your name to the policy is the most important part of the test. Don't overlook it.
  • As mentioned before, tests are typically on paper, and there may be 7-9 pages. (This is to give you plenty of space for your work.) While your papers are submitted to the teacher as a scanned file, the teacher may print them out to grade by hand. In order to keep papers from different students separate, you must initial each page in the upper right-hand corner. (There will be an instruction to this effect on the cover page of the test.) If you neglect to initial the pages so that the teacher must do it for you, you'll receive a 2 point deduction from your test score.
  • Several days in advance of any quiz or test, the teacher provides a deadline by which time you must have i) communicated with your proctor to set up an appointment to take the quiz or test, and ii) communicated to the teacher the time of the appointment. If you complete the communication assignment on time, you'll receive a 1 point bonus on a quiz and a 2 point bonus on a test. If you fail to complete the assignment on time and must take the quiz or test late, you'll receive up to a 20% penalty on the score. Do not report that you've communicated with your proctor if, in fact, you haven't. This will also result in a 20% penalty.

Time Management and Penalties for Late Assignments

important note It's recommended that you get an early start on assignments.

  • Start E, V, P and prelab assignments at least 24 hours in advance of the due time. This gives you time to ask questions and get answeres on the Canvas discussion board and also gives you a buffer to deal with any technical issues that may arise.

  • Start L-type assignments involving data collection, analysis, and reporting several days in advance. These assignmentes typically require more time than daily exercise and problem assignments.

  • WebEx preparatory assignments are typically due at 8:00 PM. If you anticipate having late afternoon or early evening commitments that will interfere with WebEx preparation, then plan to complete such assignments a day in advance.

important note Unless posted otherwise on the Weekly Schedule, assignments must be submitted by 11:59 PM on the due date. Here are specifics on late penalties:

  • Assignments submitted late do not receive credit for content.

  • For any late L-type assignment, it's your responsibility to request a 24-hour extension that will allow you to preserve your Commitment credit.

  • Do not request extensions for E-, V-, and P-type assignments. Extensions will not be granted.

  • If the teacher gives you an opportunity to rework and resubmit an assignment, you must resubmit the assignment within 48 hours of the teacher's request, except in cases where the teacher grants additional time.

The above policies are intended to keep you mindful of the fact that you must keep up with the work in order to succeed in the course. In the event that you're absent with a legitimate excuse, and you contact the teacher as soon as possible, you may receive extensions on due dates. The length of the extension will depend on the length of your absence.

important note Do not submit files as email attachments unless you have permission of the teacher. If you have trouble uploading a file to BrainHoney, email the teacher about it but don't email the file.

Specific guidelines about submitting assignments are given here.


All your grades are kept in the WebAssign gradebook, whereas the BrainHoney gradebook only includes for grades submitted through BrainHoney. Therefore, ignore the BrainHoney gradebook for comprehensive assessments.

Weighting. Your averages in the 5 evaluation categories are weighted as follows. Note the names used by WebAssign for the 5 categories. Sometimes you'll see an assignment with the WebAssign name, Practice. Such assignments receive a score, but the score isn't added to the WebAssign gradebook. Examples include participation in discussion boards. Satisfactory completion of such assignments preserves your Commitment score.

Category Name Category
WebAssign name % Weight
Quarter 3 Quarter 4
Online Exercises E/V Homework3 Homework4 15
Formal Problems P Problems3 Problems4 15
Lab Assignments L Lab3 Lab4 20
Commitment C/D Commitment3 Commitment4 10
Quizzes and Tests T Test3 Test4 40

Grading scale. The grading scale for the course is given below. Numerical averages are not rounded up. For example, in order to receive an A-, you must earn between 83.00 and 87.99. If the grading scale seems liberal to you, keep in mind that the scale reflects the fact that the assignments are challenging, and you're evaluated on showing your work in detail.

Course grading scale
Average Grade
93 - 100 A+
88 - 92 A
83 - 87 A-
79 - 82 B+
74 - 78 B
70 - 73 B-
67 - 69 C+
62 - 66 C
60 - 61 C-
< 60 D

Scale conversion. When your final numerical grade is reported to your school, the number will be scaled to your school's grading scale. For most public schools, this is a standard 7-point scale.

Average in WebAssign Score reported to home school Letter grade
83 93 A-
70 85 B-
60 77 C-
< 60 70 D

Now it's time for you to get better acquainted with discussion boards in BrainHoney.  Go to the next item in the Orientation. 

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