Grades for this course will be determined based on performance on movie logs, discussion participation, two writing assignments, and a final exam.
- Movie Logs = 40%
- Discussion Section Participation = 10%
- Expository Essay = 20%
- Study Guide = 20%
- Final = 10%
You will take a final exam that will test your understanding of the concepts covered in the professor's lectures delivered this quarter. Beginning with the introductory lecture about popular culture, there are 11 lectures total.
The final is CLOSED book with no collaboration permitted. No use of electronic devices is permitted, unless part of a pre-arranged disability accomodation. No access to the internet is allowed.
You are required to bring your own UCD 2000 SCANTRON SHEET (red) to the final exam as well as your own #2 pencil. For more information about this form, see the Center for Educaitonal Effectiveness Test Scoring web page. You do not need any paper, calculators, or anything else.
Questions will stem from the professor's lectures, but of course everything you learned from all course activities will help inform your understanding of the course materials. Focus your studies on the lectures, but consider reviewing all course materials prior to the final exam.
Although there is only one exam in this course, the content of the exam (11 lectures) is only 1/3 of the usual content of a 3-credit course that has three 50-minute lectures every week. Although the total lecture conent is much less than that covered in a tradiitonal lecture course, you should still spend ample time studying to be ready for the exam.
There are typically 2-6 questions about each lecture, so it is a guarantee that every lecxture will be covered in some fashion. With 11 topics in the course, this means there are typically 45-65 questions on the final exam in all.
The final exam will consist of multiple-choice and true-false questions.
- Multiple-Choice Questions: Bubble in the single option that best fits your answer to the following questions. Each correct answer is worth 1 point. There is no partial credit.
- True/False Questions: Bubble in A for True or B for False. Each correct answer is worth 1 point. There is no partial credit.
Although the final exam is multiple choice, it can stil be challenging. In 2010, the mean score was 74%, with a standard deviation of 9%. I do not apply any curve in grading. Also, students often have to take multiple finals on the same day, limiting the time available to study at the end.
The best predictor of student performance in this course has been found to be performance on movie logs. When a student does all the movie logs well, then that usually means they are engaging in more of the course content and putting in effort to learn. That means they are very likely to do well on the final and end up with a good score. Therefore, if you have gotten to week 3 or 4 and are not submitting your movie logs, you can expect that you are likely to get a poor grade.
Exceeding your Reputation
In 2013 I ran a little experiment about the final exam. That year I had a lot of students and I had 2 TAs. Before the final I asked each TA to tell me who they thought their top performing 5 students were across their sections. Each TA had 4 sections of ~ 20 students, so that's the top 6% per TA. I also asked them to tell me who their worst performing 5 students were. The experiment was to determine if TA professional judgement of overall student performance would be a good predictor of final exam performance.
The TA top-10 scored a mean of 91, while the bottom-10 scored a mean of 69, so as a group there was a clear difference. The TAs were able to differentiate the extremes as a whole. That tells me that overall the TA's can professional evaluate performance and conversely that Scantron exams do reflect professional judgement. Those are good outcomes for learning assessment.
However, among their bottom 10, three students earned scores >80% and two earned 76%. Meanwhile, among the top group, two students earned 73-78%. That means it is possible to individually exceed or lag the reputation you've earned with the TA.
The moral of the story is that past performance is a broad, good indicator of future performance, but every single time you have to stand and deliver, and no matter how many times you have succeeded or failed before, each time is a new chance in which you can rise above or fall down. Even now, when I have accomplished as much as I have in my own career, it is never easy to stand up and perform at the same top level every time. I cannot take it for granted. Some things never get easier, even after 25 years. Conversely, people can underestimate you, so use that to motivate yourself to crush it and prove them wrong.
Final Exam Musings
Every time I offer SAS004 I make a new final exam. Thanks to the Scantron machine, I get a lot of information about student performance on the exam. Here are some musings from what I see in how students have performed.
(1) Back in the old days I used to give a mix of scantron, short answer, and essay. Then the class grew to big, so I had to switch to only scantron. What I learned from that switch is that students perform better in short answer and essay questions than scantron. I think this is because they have the freedom to write their thoughts, so they are going to get at least partial credit most of the time. Scantron is different- you have to get the answer correct. That means you should not rush through the exam, but take your time. Every year most students finish the 2-hr exam in under an hour, but I wonder if they would do better if they took extra time to think through the questions and their answers. In particular, as I look at the questions and answers right now, I can see that often there is a key word in the answer that if only the student carefully thought through that word, then they would get the answer. It's not trying to be tricky but it just works out that an idea often comes down to a key work, like "greater" or "lessor". If you read the questioning answers carefully, you are more likely to notice that and get it right.
(2) I aim to have equal numbers of questions from each topic of the course. There is going to be ~4-7 questions per topic. If you skip studying 1 topic and get those questions wrong, then you are going to drop ~10% of your score right there. Thus, the best strategy is to study all materials equally.
(3) People perform well at the questions covering the course's themes and SLOs. These tend to be T/F questions, so maybe that is why they are easier- or maybe people are really understanding the themes, so that is good. Keep studying the themes to lock in those points.
(4) People do very mediocre on the questions about Chinatown. There tends to be a lot of scientific concepts and facts about water, geography, and climate. Given that many students are from California, you should really know this; but if you are not from California then watch out and take the time to get these concepts down. Sometimes these feel more like factoids but that's not my goal; I'm trying to hit the major themes of the lecture.
(5) Among all topics, students perform the worst on the questions related to the materials for Even the Rain. I tend to make multiple choice questions for this topic, not T/F, and these questions have long answer options. Read carefully and know the materials, including the reading.
(6) Every now and then I provide a multiple choice answer that I think is really easy to see is wrong, yet every time some people pick it. That probably means people are just guessing without even reading the question or maybe filling in the wrong circle. Just be careful. Look for the obvious distractors and avoid them.
That's about it. I hope this information is helpful to you. I want you all to do well, but at the same time I have to ask a range of questions, from easy to hard to help figure out what you have learned. There is no way around that.