Knowledge Base

Grading Policy

Grade Philosophy

I am interested in giving feedback rather than giving grades.

Assignments for my seated classes (such as Skills for Academic Success, Entrepreneurship, Instrumental Arranging/Scoring and Arranging, etc) are designed to give students experience in the doing of the assignments rather than a one-off judgment of their progress.

Composition lesson submissions are designed to reinforce regular progress and work, and all passing grades grant credit.

This grade scheme is designed to give quick feedback.

Assignment Grades

A: Acceptable; Needs no further work (Check-Plus)

The submitted assignment is polished, professional, and indicative of the level of work expected from a professional musician. Any improvements to the project would only add to the level of professionalism of the assignment.
Receives: 100% of points.

B: Acceptable; Could improve (Check)

The submitted assignment is acceptable and meets the purpose as requested, however, it still leaves some things to be desired such as additional information, formatting, word usage, etc.
Receives: 80% of points.

D: Try Again (X)

The submitted assignment is rejected for one or more of the following reasons:

  • It is not formatted in a conventional, useful, or ergonomic way.
  • The information it contains is lacking or false.
  • It is not presented in a manner that represents your work as a professional musician.

Receives: 60% of points.

F: No apparent effort (X-Minus)

The assignment was either not submitted, or the material submitted was so lacking that detailed feedback would be a monologue rather than a dialogue.
Receives: 0% of points


Any graded assignment can be re-submitted by the end of the calendar week it was returned to the student (ending Saturday 23:59) for re-evaluation.

Re-evaluation grade replaces original submission grade (latest grade, not highest grade).

Lesson Grades

Composition lessons are difficult to grade because student output does not always accurately represent student work. For that reason, all composition lesson grades receive full credit (with the exception of F) but letter-grade feedback evaluates the week's progress.

A: The Zone

The amount of work submitted exceeds expectations.
Receives: 100% of points.

B: The Grind

The amount of work submitted is as expected. (This is the default grade).
Receives: 100% of points.

C: The Tough Week

The amount of work submitted is below average.
Receives: 100% of points.

Fifth C in a row becomes a D.

D: The Disappointment

No work was submitted for the lesson.
Receives: 100% of points.

Third D in a row becomes an F.

F: The No-Show

The lesson was abandoned.
Receives: 0% of points.