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Liberal Studies

Grading Guidelines for MLS Courses

Students must have their programs of study approved by the MLS program Director.

Students may enroll in no more than 9 credit hours of electives in a single academic semester.

It is important that students and faculty share the same understanding about what grades mean in graduate courses. Students in the MLS program need to maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher, and failure to do so could result in dismissal from the program. Grades less than a B- indicate unsatisfactory performance, and any course with a final grade of less than B- will not count toward graduation.  Grades in MLS courses are to be assigned and interpreted using the following guidelines:

A Excellent performance at the graduate level
A- Very good performance at the graduate level.
B+ Good or better than satisfactory performance at the graduate level
B Satisfactory performance at the graduate level
B-   Not fully meeting the expectations for graduate work

Characteristics of Academic Excellence

The following table provides an overview of key characteristics and expectations upon which graduate work is to be evaluated. Students should strive to meet these standards in all of their assignments:

PAPERS

Organization and Argument

Communicates thinking and reasoning in an organized manner. Development of topic demonstrates effective processing of evidence and analysis.

Synthesis

Concepts are integrated or synthesized in an original and innovative way.

Content and Vocabulary

Terms, concepts, and practices are explained fluently.

Resources

Cites sources and appropriate evidence in developing argument; demonstrates careful research of topic; primarily relies on primary authorities and good secondary sources. Citation and paper format follow instructions.

Mechanics

No grammatical errors and excellent sentence structure and fluency.

PRESENTATIONS

Overview and topic development

Introduction expresses clear purpose and includes overview with relevant and clear background. Topic covered thoroughly with balanced treatment of perspectives.

Rationale

Logical reasoning integrated with authoritative references on key points.

Vocabulary

Fluent in vocabulary and pronunciation.

Visual aids

Graphics and visual aids clarify or support key ideas (some types of presentations may not require visual aids).

Speaking style

Excellent style (matching verbal and nonverbal style), good projection with inflection, and spontaneous speaking.

Interaction with audience

Able to handle questions from audience with ease.

CLASS DISCUSSION

Participation, Relevance, and Value

Initiates questions and comments. Comments are pertinent to topic and add important facts and perspectives.

Rhetoric

Gives evidence supporting assertions, argues logically, gives examples.

Inclusion

Builds on and relates to points made by other contributors (summarizes, contrasts, brings points together). Accurately listens to and considers feedback from others.

Articulation

Demonstrates knowledge and accurate use of terms.

Preparation

Always prepared, has read assigned material and relates comments to it.

Originality/Creativity

Presents novel views, different perspective, original approaches.

 

Pitfalls to Avoid

In order to insure that their work meets graduate expectations, students should carefully review each assignment before turning it in, with particular attention to identifying and avoiding the following:

PAPERS

Organization and Argument

Unclear statement of purpose or overview, transitions and sequencing are unclear, insufficient presentation of evidence and analysis.

Synthesis

Minimal integration of concepts or sources; may show previous knowledge from career, but does not demonstrate learning related to course.

Content and Vocabulary

Minimal use of terms, but in isolation; may include names of authors or terms, but insufficient context or explanation.

Resources

Opinions and statements minimally supported by evidence or illogical arguments throughout paper; minimal use of resources, primarily relies on personal communication or population sources, improper use of citation format.

Mechanics

Errors in spelling, punctuation, or sentence structure present throughout paper.

PRESENTATIONS

Overview and topic development

Minimal overview, background and minimal development of topic.

Rationale

Some reasoning and evidence presented but not well organized or poor sources.

Vocabulary

Use of terms but not well related, sporadic, misused, or mispronounced.

Visual aids

Graphics inappropriate, not clearly and directly related to analysis.

Speaking style

Poor style (minimal practice, long pauses, reading speech).

Interaction with audience

Difficulty handling questions from audience, defensive, little or no discussion.

CLASS DISCUSSION

Participation, Relevance, and Value

Does not contribute to, or dominates discussion; comments are tangential or pedantic.

Rhetoric

Provides weak or inconsistent evidence or reasoning.

Inclusion

Does not further ideas previously discussed.

Articulation

Poor use of words, poorly organized ideas, mispronunciation.

Preparation

Sometimes prepared for class, but not consistently; comments are uninformed (do not refer to assigned reading material).

Originality/Creativity

Restates ideas in readings or comments already discussed.