Graduate School of Library and Information Science, UT Austin
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The grading system for this class includes the grades of:

A+ Extraordinarily high achievement
A Superior
A- Excellent
B+ Good
B Satisfactory
B- Barely satisfactory
C+ Unsatisfactory
C Unsatisfactory
C- Unsatisfactory
D Unacceptable
F Unacceptable and failing

Please see the memorandum from former Dean Brooke Sheldon dated August 13, 1991 for an explanation of this system. (This memorandum is included in the new student orientation packets and is also available from the main GSLIS office.) The student is also encouraged to consult the GSLIS Announcement and the Graduate School Catalog for more on standards of work. The University of Texas at Austin accepts only unmodified letter grades and does not record the additional distinctions provided by the +/- grading system that we use within the GSLIS Therefore, for example, a B- and B+ final grade at GSLIS both translate to a final grade of B on University records.

A grade of B signals acceptable, satisfactory performance in graduate school. In this class, the grade of A is reserved for students who demonstrate not only a command of the concepts and techniques discussed but also an ability to synthesize and integrate them in a professional manner and communicate them effectively.

The grade of incomplete (X) is reserved for students in extraordinary circumstances and must be negotiated with the instructor before the end of the semester. (See Dr. Sheldon's memorandum of August 13, 1991.)

We use points to evaluate assignments, not letter grades. The maximum number of points on any assignment is based on its contribution to the final grade. An assignment with a contribution of five percent will have a maximum of five points. A student's grade for the semester is based on the sum of all points the student earns for individual assignments according to the following scale:




The student's score is then compared with the scores of all other students to determine the plus or minus. For example, if a student earns 86 points and most of the B scores are 82 to 85 points then the student earns a B+. If, on the other hand, a student earns 86 points and most of the other students earned 87 to 88 points then the student earns a B-.

Students earn points for an assignment based on the following four considerations:

  1. Intellectual quality of the assignment. Factors include: graduate level composition quality showing maturity, clarity, and good organization; support of arguments and discussion with adequate examples; support of arguments and discussion with the work of other scholars.

  2. Meeting both the goals and tasks of the assignment. If there were four goals and three tasks, then one might expect twelve areas to be addressed (meeting the four goals of each task). But this consideration is not always so simple. A goal might include more than one area for discussion for a single task. (For example: for the goal to identify, find, and evaluate widgets, a student might address how she identified widgets, how she found them, and how she judged them.) On the other hand a goal might encompass two tasks. (For example: for the goal to compare red and green widgets, a student might discuss the comparison as a single area rather than as separate areas for red and green.) Regardless, all assignment goals, tasks, and their relationship must be addressed for maximum points.

  3. Mechanical quality. This consideration is based on the standards for the course. Of particular importance is the use of good English rhetoric, proper paper formats, and compliance with APA reference formats.

  4. Attribution. Use of another's work as your own results in zero points and possibly other consequences. Work of other's must always be given proper credit. Often there is a fine line between copying, paraphrasing, borrowing ideas, and using common knowledge. The first three require citations but the last does not. UT Student Judicial Services provides an excellent discussion of this subject at

  5. Timeliness, hygiene, and length. Late assignments are awarded zero points. Papers with viruses or other hygiene problems are awarded zero points. The TAs and professor will not read pages exceeding the specified length of the paper. There is no minimum for a paper's length; however, the length specified provides an indication of the depth expected from the assignment. Shorter papers may not adequately cover the assigned subject. The flexibility of type font and size provides considerable flexibility for content. The relative importance of each of each of these areas depends on the assignment and the general progress of all students in the class.

Participation: As in a classroom situation, points for class participation on the discussion board are based not only on how much a student participates but also on the quality and helpfulness of the participation. Generally, students should use colloquial English on the discussion board as in the classroom. Contractions, abbreviations, locutions, and acronyms may be used freely on the discussion board. (But please note that contractions and abbreviations are not acceptable in formal written assignments in this course.) However, since a written record exists of all conversations during the semester (and on back-up tape archives indefinitely), one should be careful to be understood. A good rule of thumb is not to post anything that would be embarrassing if it was discovered by a reporter and quoted in the newspaper. And, as always, academic standards require the work of others to be given credit and not represented as one's own.

Please remember that you are expected to contribute to the discussion board. We will be monitoring your contributions both for quality as well as quantity. Ten percent (10%) of your grade will be based on our judgment of your preparation and participation.


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Last updated 28 January 2001 by Don Drumtra