About the two-part final in MAT125
- Part I will be pass/fail, and focus on the more basic material in
the course. It consists of 12 very straightforward questions, with passing
being 9 or more correct. This will be given in recitation during the
week of April 26.
If you pass pass Part I, you are guaranteed a C or better on the final and hence in the course.
If you fail Part I the first time, you will have additional opportunities to take it again, including during the scheduled time of the final (8am, May 13)
- Part II will consist only of more challenging questions, and can be taken only if you pass Part I. It will determine what grade better than C you get on the final. This will be held at the scheduled time of 8 am on May 13. Note that if you passed part I and are happy with a C, you do not need to take Part II.
Several people have asked questions about what this means. Here is my attempt to answer them.
If I do not pass part 1 on my first try, when
and where do I take the second (and possibly third) try?
A: If you don't pass the first part of the final on the first try, there will be a couple of retake times scheduled the following week. We will announce the times and places as we know them.
If you still don't pass it then (or can't manage to make any of the scheduled retake times), you can take it during the scheduled final period instead of taking part 2.
If I do not pass part 1, do we still need to take Part 2 of the
final (the harder stuff)?
A: You are only required (or allowed!) to take part 2 if you pass part 1.
If you don't pass part 1 and fool us into letting you take part 2, we won't grade it and it won't count.
If you haven't passed part 1 by the time the final is given, you should take part 1 again at that time.
If we do pass part 1, and we choose to take part 2
but don't do so well on it (perhaps a C or lower), are we still guaranteed a
C for the final and course?
A: Yes, of course. If you pass part 1, you will get a minimum of a C on the final. Our policy is that anyone who demonstrates basic competency in calculus deserves a grade that enables them to go on to the next course (ie, a C or higher in the course).
If you fail to pass part 1 after several tries, you don't belong in MAT126, and shouldn't receive a grade higher than C- in the course.
Note, however, that we are only talking about the grade on the final. Your other grades will be taken into account when determining your final grade in the course. For example, if you had grades of A on the first two midterms and on the webassign, pass part 1, and then decide not to take part 2 (or do horribly), then you will get a B+ in the course (since that is what you get when you average things out with a C on the final). Similarly, if you had grades of F all along, but get pass part 1 and somehow manage an A on part 2 of the final, this doesn't guarantee an A in the course, but probably you will get better than a C.
This isn't fair! I've been working hard in this course, and all these
people getting a C at the last minute will mess up the curve.
A: The curve is based on performance, not the number of people who get certain grades. If everyone does A work, everyone will get an A. (I have never seen this happen.) The distribution on the second exam may look like we said "20% should get below C", but in fact, we looked at how hard the test was and said "23 points is C or better work". It just turns out that 20.9% of the class isn't currently doing C-level work.
There is no curve based on number of people who get a certain grade.
What does it cover? Is it just the material since the second midterm.
A: No, of course not. This is a final, and thus is comprehensive. The point of this entire process is to demostrate that you have a basic mastery of the material in the course. This includes everything, (limits, derivatives, applications of derivatives, etc.), just at a relatively basic level.
If you have more questions, ask me.