Criminological Theories Independent Study

Grading Framework for 4+1 Students Fall 2017

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DATE OF LAST UPDATE: August 31, 2017

We are evolving the course requirements as we go, based on the discussions we have each week. So check back.

Percent of your grade Item
15% You participate (to be defined below) in weekly discussions - every week - and you turn in low stakes writing every week
35% Turning in 4 revised weekly writings with "passing" grade
35% Final writing project (to be discussed)
15% Mastery demonstration: Short final exam or some other vehicle that demonstrates knowledge with theories not covered in your final writing project (to be discussed)


You get full credit each week if you:
>> come with something written about the reading for that class. Preferably you have written out answers to at least a couple of the important questions for the week's reading, or you have engaged deeply with just one question; and
>> you participate fully in the class meeting that day (offer thoughts, answer (most of the time, see taking-a-pass policy) when asked something directly

You write every week for two reasons.

First, you learn that you have something to say about these matters. You only learn what you have to say when you start writing.

Second, you demonstrate that you can engage thoughtfully with some portions of the material for that week. What you have to say demonstrates more than just remembering and reciting. We will talk in class about the "Pyramid of Learning." Discussing this should help you see more clearly where I am trying to go.

If you turn in your writing each week I will give you feedback before the next class about how well y our writing demonstrated your engagement with the material. If the item does not, I will provide specific guidance on how it could be sufficient.

Treat your weekly writing as "low stakes" writing. That is, feel free to express ideas even though you have not yet fully developed them. Use the writing to explore what your views, opinions, and arguments are.


You will revise four of your weekly writings, paying attention to the comments I provide, so that each one has a passing grade. We will talk more in class about the standard applied.


The final project takes the place of a final exam. You will write a paper for your final project. You will show your ability to apply a couple of the theories reviewed this semester. We will discuss what forms this paper may take. In other words, we will evolve together the shape of this writing project. You will each write your own paper.

The last group of 4+1 students taking this course settled on applying theory to movies. You can find the project description and rubric here:

We will talk about different types of concept application papers you might write, and settle on something, somewhere around mid-to-late November.

As we develop these ideas, more information will be posted here.


I need you to show me that you have mastered the material in more books than the two that you use for your final writing project.

We will talk about different forms this exam substitute might take.

The Spring 2016 4+1 group developed crossword puzzles. You can go to the main page for that version of the course for more information about that. CLICK HERE

But there are many more options, especially because the annual meetings of the American Society of Criminology are being held in Philadelphia this year the week before Thanksgiving. See below.