Essentials of Oceanography

Grading Rubric for Activities and Problem Sets


(rev. May 2009)

General Expectations

  • If an activity worksheet has been provided, then you need to submit that document, along with any other analyses, plots, or calculations you made to arrive at the answers in your worksheet.
  • Make sure that I can follow your calculations, so that I can provide feedback.
  • Responses to follow-up questions should be in complete sentences and demonstrate your ability to interpret the results of the analysis.
  • If you are submitting a scanned, hand-drawn plot, chart, or drawing as part of a data analysis activity, then please double check to make sure everything on the electronic version of it is legible.

Grading Rubric

Point values for each individual activity are assigned based on the amount of time and effort that I expect to go into them.  Discussion posts generally are assigned between 10 and 40 points.  Submissions that require more work such as calculations, data analysis, analysis of text, etc typically fetch from 50 to 100 points.  


I drop the lowest activity score for one lesson. As there are often multiple activities within a given lesson, this means that I do not drop the score for a full lesson. All lessons are worth the same amount. See the course syllabus for the details of how the final grade is determined from Lessons, Quizzes and Capstone Project.

My grading procedure for discussion activities is as follows:

  • If you post as requested I assign a grade of 85, which is at the boundary between B and B+. For example, if the activity asks for one initial post and one follow up, then one cogent and complete post plus one thoughtful response, each a few sentences in length, is worth 85.
  • I assign lower scores for posts that are not on target and/or do not include a thoughtful and extended set of remarks that are on topic..
  • I assign higher scores for 1) posts that are exceptionally thoughtful and/or complete and/or 2) in cases where a student takes the time to make multiple cogent posts and/or multiple complete and thoughtful replies to the posts of others.

My grading procedure for activities that involve calculations, plots, and working with data are:

  • Fully correct responses receive full credit.
  • Blank responses or those turned in after I publish answers receive no credit.
  • Assigning partial credit for partially correct responses is always a subjective process, but I try my best to be consistent.
    • In the case of a partially correct calculation, I follow along with the work you’ve shown in order to figure out where your error is. If you don’t show your work, then I can’t give as much partial credit.
    • In the case of partially correct responses to open-ended discussion questions, I try to assign partial credit based on how close you were to the thoroughly correct answer that I was aiming for. Please proofread all answers to discussion questions so that you can make sure your answers make grammatical and logical sense. I can’t give as much partial credit if I can’t figure out what you are trying to say!
    • In the case of a partially correct plot or graph, I assign partial credit based on the number of correct elements including: data points, labels on axes, legends, and general legibility.
    • In the case where an error you have made early on in a problem set affects later answers, I strive only to deduct points for the first mistake. This is also a case in which showing your work is helpful because then I can find the original source of your error, track it through your later calculations, and you will not have to lose points more than once because of it!

The numerical-letter grading scale (i.e. what range of scores equals an “A” or a “B”, etc.) can be found on the syllabus page for this course, which is linked in the box on the left margin under the Resources heading.