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Required Assignment Sequences

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Part of our commitment to students focuses on maintaining the consistency of the students’ experiences across PWR 1 and PWR 2 classes; accordingly, PWR has established a required assignment sequence for major graded assignments for first-year and second-year PWR classes to ensure a commensurate academic experience and workload across sections.

While instructors may customize within appropriate parameters the weighted percentage that each major graded assignment holds in relation to the overall class grades, they should follow the programmatic guidelines for designing each individual assignment and should not add additional graded assignments to their courses.

Instructors may and likely should ask students to do additional informal writing, inside and outside of class, in addition to the major graded assignments; however, credit for additional writing should be a part of a “class activities” or “informal assignments” grade and this grade should account for no more than 15% of the overall grade for the class.  Types of additional assignments might include pre-writing exercises, blog posts, peer responses, impromptu speaking .or writing exercises, tweets, contributions to a wiki or discussion forum, in-class drafting, and other writing that deepens students’ experience as writers.  Instructors have used different terminology on their syllabi to refer to this category:

  • Community Contributions
  • Informal Writing Assignments
  • Active Collaborative Presence
  • Scaffolding Assignments
  • Academic Community Contributions

Please note that instructors should not include a separate “participation” component to their grading breakdown unless that participation relates to specific work that can be evaluated, such as the examples of class activities and informal writing described above.  The syllabus should clearly describe the types of work that fall under this additional category and give some indication as to how it will be evaluated.  Following these guidelines ensures that you communicate fully to students about the specific work on which they will be graded and decreases the possibility of confusion about grading at the end of the course.

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