Grading Policies

Class Participation:  20%
As per Stuyvesant High School policy, a student with 3 unexcused absences cannot attain higher than 90% .

Class participation includes:

  • Commenting during and responding to class discussion
  • Bringing class materials
  • Notetaking
  • Attentiveness
  • Preparedness (reading)
  • Punctuality
  • Attendance

Homework:  20%

Check the class website daily for:

  • Assigned reading
  • Written homework assignments
  • Printed items (from class website)

And be prepared for the possibility of:

  • Quizzes

Essays, Tests, and Other Major Assignments: 60%
I grade major assignments on a letter scale.  This rubric is explained fully here.

  • Essays
  • Creative writing
  • Group projects
  • Presentations
  • Tests

Late Assigments

  • I do not accept late homework (see “Extensions” below for extenuating circumstances).
  • Students will be allowed one (1) missed homework per marking period without penalty. There are three marking periods in a semester.
  • Late, incomplete, or nonexistent peer editing drafts will penalize the final assignment grade by half a grade (5 points in the 0-100 scale or .5 in the 0-6 scale, both linked here) unless an extension is granted.
  • Late major assignments will lose half a grade for each day they are late unless an extension is granted.


  • Personal or family illness, bereavement, and other family emergencies are always grounds for an extension.
  • Other extenuating circumstances will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
  • With the exception of unforseen illness and emergency, extensions should always be requested in advance.
  • It is always better to ask for an extension than not to ask for one.


  • Writing is a process, and I recognize the value of a rewrite in situations where students have put in a great deal of effort, only to find unanticipated flaws in their work.  At the same time, I must grade a high volume of student essays, and therefore must restrict consideration of rewrites exclusively to students who will benefit significantly from them.
  • Rewrites are intended to allow significant but honest errors to be rectified, not to score “extra credit” or to raise further already excellent grades.
  • I will authorize rewrites for major assignments (essays and creative writing) that receive B+ (4.5 in the 0-6 scale) or lower.
  • Rewrites must be authorized in advance.
  • The opportunity to rewrite is restricted to students who have made a thorough and sincere effort in the assignment.  Students who turn in careless work or who have not done their peer-editing draft on time are ineligible.
  • A rewrite must thoroughly conform to my guidelines, available as a .pdf document here.  Rewrites that do not conform to these guidelines in their entirety will not be considered, and may result in ineligibility for further rewrites.
  • Rewrites will be averaged with the previous grade, and cannot improve the previous grade by more than one full grade (10 points or 1.0 in the 0-6 scale).
  • Rewrites cannot lower the previous grade; rewrites that do not succeed in improving the work significantly, however, cannot raise it.  An attempt to pass off arbitrary efforts as a rewrite will make the student ineligible for further rewrites.

Plagiarism Policy

  • Students learn extensively about what constitutes plagiarism during their first year at Stuyvesant, and are also reminded throughout their high school career.  Ignorance is not an excuse.  More information on the school plagiarism policy can be found on pages 15-16 of the official student planner that is issued to every student annually.
  • Plagiarized work, including major assignments, will receive a grade of 0.
  • Students may not make up plagiarized work.
  • Students will discuss the incident with me during a private conference, and will also be required to attend an additional conference that includes the Assistant Principal of English.
  • Both the Assistant Principal of English and the students’ parents will be informed of the incident.
  • The incident will be noted in the student’s internal school record (not the record that is shown to colleges).
  • An incident of plagiarism that occurs after a previous act of plagiarism, regardless of the class or subject area, causes both incidents to be noted in the student’s official record, which is sent to colleges.

First Marking Period Grades

Special note regarding first marking period grades: 

Parents, please note that I do not grade higher than “S” during the first marking period. 

Because English can be a difficult subject to quantify, and because many Stuyvesant students tend to be focused on their numerical grades at the expense of their teachers’ qualitative comments on essays and in class discussions, I prefer to wait until the second marking period to assign a numerical grade above 89. 

The first and second marking period grades do not appear on the students’ permanent transcripts, and these grades will not affect seniors’ college applications.

Finally, an “S” grade for a student who would conventionally have received an “E” grade will not lower the numerical grade in the coming marking periods.

If your child has received an “N” or a “U,” I have indicated the cause on the report card with a comment code. 

Students with an “S” grade who have comment codes pointing to areas for improvement are not in danger of failing, but should address the issues noted in order to improve their performance.  Addressing these problems frequently allows a student to achieve a final course grade above 88.

The lack of a positive comment code with an “S” grade is not a negative statement; it simply reflects the need for additional time to establish a more precise assessment (i.e., a higher grade) or the possibility that a student could use additional class participation to further distinguish him- or herself.