Policy on Participation and the Role of Participation in Grading

Student Participation is an integral part of Physics117. We expect every student to attend class, to perform the scheduled laboratories (and submit the lab reports), to complete and submit the Homework assignments, and to take every exam at the scheduled time. In class, questions will occasionally be posed, and each student’s response will be submitted by means of each student’s personally registered TURNING POINT RF (=Radio Frequency) wireless “clicker”. (Click http://www.clickers.umd.edu/ to learn more.) The responses will be collected and recorded by the wireless receiver in our Physics lecture hall, Room 1410 Physics.


In-class Questions are to encourage review, consideration and anticipation of course material.


The purpose of these in-class questions is to encourage students to consider again physics which has been covered earlier, to address concretely the physics currently under discussion, or to think ahead to the physics of the currently assigned advanced reading window. These questions are considered learning aids and NOT in-class pop quizzes, so that no credit will attach to the correctness of the responses. On the other hand each question answered, whether answered correctly or not, will add one point to the answering student’s Raw Participation Score, RPS.


Participation Scores will affect final course grades.


At the end of the semester, the total Raw Participation Score of each student will be replaced by the corresponding Adjusted Participation Score, APS, according to the “80% is enough” process. (As described under Grading Policy, this process replaces every score which equals or exceeds 80% of the maximum possible total semester score by the maximum adjusted score of 100, and replaces every score which totals less than 80% of the maximum by its pro-rata fraction of  the maximum adjusted score of 100. The purpose of this “80% is enough” process is to apply the judgment that 80% participation, as reflected here by the answering of  these in-class questions, “is enough” and warrants full maximum credit for in-class participation. The same process is applied to other aspects of the course, such as Homework and Laboratory, which we also consider to be learning tools rather than surrogate examinations.)


In computing the course final grades, this Adjusted Participation Score distribution is normalized to produce the Normalized Participation Score, NPS, distribution, by requiring the normalized scores to have an average value of 70 and a Standard Deviation of +/- 20. (See the discussion of Normalization under Grading Policy, and especially note how the normalization of a poor score in a class distribution where nearly everyone has the same highest score may produce even a surprisingly low (or even a negative) normalized score. (Negative scores, however, will be replaced by zeroes.)) It is this normalized score which is incorporated into the Final Course Score with a weight of  5% (0.05).


Your Registered Clicker’s answer click is accepted as your Honor Code Signature; its misuse is an Honor Code Violation.


Your Registered Clicker is equivalent in this course to your honor code signature. When we record its click, we accept that as your signed statement that you were present and that you chose the answer submitted. If in fact your were not present, and someone else actually clicked in the answer recorded, then that is a violation of the honor code, which is actionable and may lead to serious penalties. If any student in a Physics 117 class is found merely to have in his possession a clicker registered to another student, then both the registered owner of the clicker and the student in possession of the clicker are in violation of the honor code. The implication is clear:  Do not lend or give possession of your personal clicker to anyone. 


Every Physics 117 student must obtain a Turning Point wireless clicker, and register it at the University’s clicker website:


(The clicker may be new or used, and the same clicker can be used for other UMCP classes which require clickers, although certain Business School courses use a different, incompatible clicker..)

To see past in-class questions and answers from the current semester click IN-ClassQ&A