"What are you looking for????"
St. Francis Xavier University
"What are you looking for???" Students often ask this, especially after the first test. Donít panic!
Before trying to answer this question, let me note that I donít believe in false precision. No one can tell the difference between a 65 essay and a 66 essay. Normally Iíll give marks divisible by 5; thatís as precise as it gets.
If you know the basic elements put forward in the readings, lectures, and discussions, and you present these in way that I can follow but that isnít particularly well-organized or particularly clear, then youíre looking at about a 65. This is a respectable mark.
If you know not just the basic elements but also some additional, important details, and you present things in a clearer and more organized manner, then youíre looking at about a 75. This is a good mark.
If you add something really worthwhile to what Iíve given you, for instance by presenting the course material in a new light, reflecting on it with extra depth or insight, or bringing out new elements or new connections, then weíre talking 85 and up. This doesnít happen very often, unfortunately.
If you have something less than the basic elements, an extremely rudimentary understanding of what went on, then youíre barely passingó55.
If youíve not succeeded in answering the question but there are bits and pieces of the course in there somehow, then youíre looking at something like 40.
If your answer is way, way off, and doesnít address the question at all, then thereís not much choice but to give you a zero.
Note that errors in what you say lower your mark. In other words, if you give what would be a 75 answer, but youíve included certain errors on important matters, then youíre going to fall short of the 75 you would have gotten otherwise.
Bottom line: If you memorize everything and regurgitate it, youíre looking at 75 maximumóbefore any deductions for errors, disorganization, unclarity, etc. Youíve got to get beyond memorization to real understanding.