Some more thoughts on a flexible, achievement-oriented assessment system for an Intro to Poetry class.  For more context on this post, you may first wish to read:

Travis made the note this week that the sheer number of items that could be done will likely be overwhelming to students, who may freak out and think that they have to do everything.  Doing everything would basically be insane.  So I’ll probably look in the next couple days for a volunteer who might build an interesting path to an A that I can use as a sample for students.

Revisions

Significant Revision | 25 achievement points – Complete a revision that gives a complete overhaul to a poem, while maintaining at least three elements of its original composition.

Starred Revision | 25 achievement points – Complete a revision that dramatically improves a poem, earning a star.

Tireless Reviser | 75 achievement points – Hand in five starred revisions.

Put It Away | 5 achievement points – Let a poem sit for over a month before revising it.

Dogged Pursuit | 5 achievement points – Revise a poem within a week of getting your first comments on it.

Mind Meld | 5 achievement points – Combine elements from two unsuccessful scheduled poems into one successful revision.

Truth | 5 achievement points – Revise a poem by stating its essential truth in the first line of the second stanza.

Lie | 5 achievement points – Revise a poem by adding a lie to it.

The End is the Beginning | 5 achievement points – Revise a poem by making its original ending the first stanza.

Revise into Form | 5 achievement points – Revise by transforming a free-verse poem into form.

Kill the Abstractions | 5 achievement points – Revise by removing all the abstract language in your poem.

Eavesdropper | 5 achievement points – Revise a poem by inserting language overhead on campus or borrowed from a stranger’s tweet.  (Cite the tweet if you use that strategy.)

Fire and Ice | 5 achievement points – Revise a poem by making one area “hot” (highly emotionally charged) and one area “cold” (little emotional charge).

Juried Stuff

I have a few friends lined up who have agreed that they would be willing to serve as judges for 18-36 poems sometime during the semester, giving students an opportunity to try to impress an external judge.

Five-Star Poem | 100 achievement points – An outside judge selected your poem as a five-star poem.  You may submit up to two poems for consideration to each judge when judging deadlines are announced.  Judges are given the following criteria: “Forget that the poems you’re about to read may have been written by beginners.  Judge each of the poems you are given on a scale of one to five stars.  One star should be given to poems that are average or below. Two stars should indicate that a poem is a bit above average.  Three stars should indicate that the poem is good, a poem you’d be pleased to see in a book or literary magazine.  Four stars means that you’d send the poem to a friend, and five stars means you’d write the editors and thank them for having published that poem. In any given batch of poems, you may encounter no poems that rate above two stars.”  Poems submitted must be revisions of poems handed in at scheduled poem checkpoints.  Judges will be publishing poets, including authors of some bookshop assignments.

Three-Star Poem | 50 achievement points – An outside judge selected your poem as a five-star poem.  You may submit up to two poems for consideration to each judge when judging deadlines are announced.  Judges are given the following criteria: “Forget that the poems you’re about to read may have been written by beginners.  Judge each of the poems you are given on a scale of one to five stars.  One star should be given to poems that are average or below. Two stars should indicate that a poem is a bit above average.  Three stars should indicate that the poem is good, a poem you’d be pleased to see in a book or literary magazine.  Four stars means that you’d send the poem to a friend, and five stars means you’d write the editors and thank them for having published that poem. In any given batch of poems, you may encounter no poems that rate above two stars.”  Poems submitted must be revisions of poems handed in at scheduled poem checkpoints, including authors of some bookshop assignments.

Submit! | 5 achievement points – Bring in an acceptance letter or rejection letter from Cellar Door or Should Does.

Juried Video | 25 achievement points – Create a video version of a poem assigned by the instructor, achieving a juried score of “excellent” or
“outstanding” in every category.  (Judges will be given this rubric: http://poetryoutloud.org/uploads/fl/af34c39739/scoring%20rubric.pdf)

Performance

Flawless Recitation | 25 achievement points – On a scheduled recitation day, recite a poem assigned by the instructor, achieving an instructor score of “excellent” or
“outstanding” in every category. (See this rubric: http://poetryoutloud.org/uploads/fl/af34c39739/scoring%20rubric.pdf)

Strong Recitation | 25 achievement points – On a scheduled recitation day, recite a poem assigned by the instructor, achieving an average class score of 4 or above in every category from classmates. (See this rubric, and convert “Very Weak” to 1 and “Outstanding” to 6.  http://poetryoutloud.org/uploads/fl/af34c39739/scoring%20rubric.pdf)

Poem into Video | 25 achievement points – Create a video version of a poem assigned by the instructor, achieving an instructor score of “excellent” or
“outstanding” in every category.  Debut it on a scheduled recitation day, instead of reciting. (See this rubric: http://poetryoutloud.org/uploads/fl/af34c39739/scoring%20rubric.pdf)

Saw a Reading |  25 achievement points – You must attend at least one public poetry reading during the semester by a publishing poet.  Your report, a minimum of one double-spaced page, should note details about poems read (and any observations on craft you make), poet, audience, and setting.  The more details you include the better, as the objective of this assignment is for you to consider the elements you must pay attention to when the time comes for you to read.  Your paper should address what you think an ideal poetry reading might look like and which elements of the reading you attend meet those criteria.  This can be handed in any time before April 1.

Class Stuff

Certain class activities may award achievements.

Discussion Leader | 10 achievement points – Served as discussion leader while a classmate’s poem was being workshopped.

Peer Award | 10 achievement points –  Won a Peer Award by being voted “most helpful commenter” at the end of a class session.

Close Second | 5 achievement points – Finished second in Peer Award voting for “most helpful commenter” at the end of a class session.

Three Peer Awards | 25 achievement points – Won three Peer Awards.

Five Peer Awards | 50 achievement points – Won five Peer Awards.

Midterm | 50 achievement points – Took the midterm and scored an 85 or better.

Perfect Attendance | 50 achievement points – Attended every class, and was never late.

Showed Up | 25 achievement points – Finished the class with no more than two absences.  Two late arrivals will count as one absence.

Office Hours | 10 achievement points – Visited the instructor’s office hours at least once in the first four weeks of class.

New Poems! | 25 achievement points – Handed in poems at each of the scheduled poem checkpoints.

Other Fun Stuff

Anthology | 25 achievement points – Assemble an anthology which includes at least fifteen different poets.  Write a short preface to the collection, and a short introduction to each poem.  The anthology should have some governing logic, both in terms of the poems selected (a theme, a specific geography, a unique form, a specific image) and the order in which they appear.

Chapbook | 250 achievement points – Complete the final chapbook assignment.  Directions for completion will be given in April; the final chapbook is due in place of our final exam.

Conference | 10 achievement points – Attend a poetry or literary conference.  Submit a short summary of key points that you learned.

Interview with a Poet | 25 achievement points – Study interviews from three different literary magazines, then interview a published poet.  (Poets who teach at UNC may not be interviewed for this achievement.)

Meme | 5 achievement points – Create a meme based on a poem that the whole class has read.

Quotes | 5 achievement points – Tweet the best quotes about poetry you find or hear (or tweet a link to a Tumblr or blog where you collect these quotes).

Tweets | 10 achievement points – Tweet your thoughts on poetry (at least one tweet per week for five weeks).

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