05. Speaking Section:
06. Writing Section:
3 of 3

Listening Test 1.10


Assistant: Yes, come in.
Student: Excuse me, are you Mr. Fitch, Dr. Addlestone’s assistant?
Assistant: Hi! Yes, can I help you?
Student: Yes please, if you have time, I’m Mary Jane Turner and I’m signed up for Literature 220. I just wanted to get clearer on the grading system. I’m still not sure how it works.
Assistant: Hi Mary Jane! Yeah, sure! It’s pretty straightforward, really. After each lecture, we prepare a short quiz on that material and you take it at the beginning of the next lecture period. It only takes about 10 minutes and it’s pretty simple. If you’ve taken good notes and studied them a bit beforehand, that’s it. There are 15 lectures, so that’s 15 quizzes.
Student: And they are a part of our final grade, right?
Assistant: Right! 1% each or 15% for all 15 of them.
Student: Each one’s only 1% of my grade? That doesn’t seem like much. Missing one or two of them wouldn’t make much of a difference, would it?
Assistant: Not really, no. But the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. They don’t work much individually because they’re very short and sweet. Just to check that you’ve been coming to class really. But students who pass all 15 quizzes earn a 5% bonus for effort.
Student: Don’t our individual quiz scores count?
Assistant: No..uh..sorry, they’re just pass/fail quizzes.
Student: So pass them all, I’m at 20% of my final grade?
Assistant: That’s right.
Student: That sounds good!
Assistant: Oh and uh, and 60% are your midterm and final exams.
Student: Are they short and sweet too?
Assistant: No. I’m afraid not. They’re not like the quizzes. They’re 90-minute tests and require a good bit of writing in addition to the objective questions. The midterm covers the 8 lectures: the founding fathers to Mark Twain. The final mainly covers World War One to the present, from Lecture 9 on.
Student: So first half authors won’t be on the final?
Assistant: That’s not what I said. I said it’s mainly on the second half of the course. Professor Addlestone will be keeping you honest with a few questions about American Literature before World War Two.
Student: I see. And are they 30/30?
Assistant: Yes. 30% for the midterm, 30% for the final. And after 20% for the weekly quizzes. And then after 10% each for your essays. You’ll need at least 90% for an A, 80% for a B, and 70 for a C.
Student: Mm, could you tell me something about what is expected with our essays? There’re two of them, right?
Assistant: Yes. You’re required to write two short critical essays on American authors of your choice from anywhere in American literary history. And we’ll be looking carefully at your writing style and ability as much as the content of your essays. The professors are real sticklers for overall literacy.
Student: So I can choose any author on the syllabus?
Assistant: Yes, but I can tell you that we often like it when a student picks an author out of the mainstream. Perhaps a lesser writer that we haven’t been able to include in the lectures. Or contemporary authors who haven’t found a place in literary history yet.
Student: Someone really obscure?
Assistant: Not a good idea. The author you choose should have some relevance to the course of American literature. And if you can demonstrate that relevance clearly in 4 to 5 type-written pages then you’ll have a good essay.
Student: For each essay?
Assistant: This a university Mary Jane, not a high school. Now, you’ve got almost four months to write 8 to 10 pages. You should be able to manage it.
Student: Yeah okay, you’re right. And when are they due?
Assistant: The first essay’s due in late October. But we’d be happy to see it anytime before that. And the second is due at the last lecture in December. And it must be turned in before the winter break.
Student: Mm, should the first essay be about somebody in the first half material then and the same for the second?
Assistant: No, not at all. Any author that you would like. It would be smart to choose one that interests you. Papers that reflect some enthusiasm always turn out better.
Student: Hmm, I got that. I’m really looking forward to this course. I love reading.
Assistant: That’s good because you’re gonna do a lot of that.
Student: Thanks Mr. Fitch, I really appreciate it.
Assistant: Oh and don’t be shy if you have any concerns Mary Jane, my door is always open. Goodbye.