This page explains some important unique aspects that students should be aware of regarding how COS courses work.
To complete the course, you must complete ALL activities. The course software will track your progress, but you may also manually mark lesson activities as complete.
It is NOT necessary to move through the course lessons in the order it is presented, but you SHOULD do assignments in the order they are presented. This is because your interim report cards are tied to specific assessments and if you do them out of order, the report card will reflect a grade of 0 for skipped assignments. The course software will allow you to access and submit assignments out of order, but you do so at your own risk. If you request to take the final summative assessment while there are incomplete assignments, these will be considered as you “giving up” on the assignment and the grade of 0 will be permanent.
On Assessments for, of, and as Learning
At COS we have assessments for learning and of learning. The former is shorted to “Formative Assessment” and are marked as such in the course. These Formative Assessments are given a hypothetical grade, and do not apply towards your report card grade except as a completion mark. Their purpose is to help to learn and improve through feedback. You will notice that when applying very new skills/concepts you learned, there will usually be two very similar assignments, one Formative, and one not marked as Formative (which we sometimes call “Summative”). Only assignments not marked as Formative will count fully towards your report card grade.
We do this because we believe that you cannot learn without knowing what you well and what you did badly. We do not throw completely new material at you and grade your initial attempts, that would give what we believe to be an erroneous picture of your actual learning by the end of the course on your final report card. Even where we ask you to extend your learning and attempt something not directly shown in the course before, you will still be given a similar opportunity to practice extending first, and the second attempt will be in the same realm of difficulty/thinking even if it is a different task.
There are also assessments as learning, which are assessments you give to yourself. Again, like the formative assessments, they count only for completion marks. You get full marks so long as you clearly spent some effort on it. We will not grade how effectively you assess yourself, nor will your assessment of yourself affect our judgment of what your grade should be. Thus, if you overpraise yourself, you do so with no benefit, and we suggest you take yourself more critically.
Overall, completion marks are all pass or fail and will never exceed 10% of a course’s total grade, but they are also embedded within the four Achievement Categories and not a separate category.
On suggested exercises and manually marking completion
Throughout the course, actual assignments and other assessments are clearly separated from lesson content. The number of assessments is relatively few as we focus on higher quality assessing. Lesson content may contain many more suggested exercises.
Lessons can always be marked completed manually and you do not need to submit anything for these. This does not mean they are optional. It means that we trust that you have fully read the material and spent the necessary time to attempt enough exercises that you reached understanding. Moreover, lessons are not meant to be only read once and forgotten. We give you the power to mark completion so that you can determine for yourself when you have actually understood and finished reviewing. Obviously different students have different speeds of learning and interest levels in particular topics, you are expected to manage your progress according to your needs. If you are genuinely an extremely fast learner can fly through the content without reviewing anything and just doing the minimum, well you can do that. However, if you abuse this opportunity and simply skip all homework, you will likely find yourself in a serious dilemma when attempting the actual assessments. Fortunately, as explained in the previous section we usually have formative assessments that will show you the error of your ways before your misguided decision becomes catastrophic for your grade.
Finally, note that only separately presented assessments count for grades, whether for completion marks or comprehensive grading. Lessons marked complete do not contribute to your percentage grade at all, only your learning habits evaluation.
On Skipped Assessments
All assessments are mandatory, regardless of whether you are given just a completion mark or graded comprehensively. Skipping assessments is the equivalent to skipping class and not handing in assignments if this were a physical school. This is not allowed and we will send you a warning, plus for students under 18 we reserve the right to inform your parents/guardians, if we believe you did so deliberately with no intention to finish it later. For example, if you do a summative assessment and forgo the formative version, this suggests to us you never planned to do the formative in the first place. You will also suffer from lower learning habits scores. Don’t skip.
On the Redo Reward
All students that properly complete all their work without us hounding you (ie, those who skip, get a warning from us, then do the assessment after will be precluded) will receive a single opportunity at the end of the course, before the final summative assessment (final exam, project, etc), to request a second attempt at a previously completed and graded assessment that you didn’t do well on. If you request to redo a test, the questions will not be the exact same, but for other assignments, the prompts will be identical and you can simply submit your previous work with improvements. This is a reward for diligently doing your best to learn. You don’t have to take it, but it may be worthwhile to improve your grade. Be warned though that we will only use the second attempt’s grade, even if it is lower than the original. In addition, because this is a second attempt, you will get an automatic -5% to the final grade calculation on it. (So it is not worthwhile unless you believe you can improve by at least 5%, and obviously pointless if you already got 95% in it) There are no free marks, if you take the chance to do better you should make sure you actually did improve. Just imagine in your future career your superior gives you a second chance to correct your mistakes but you somehow do no better than the first time, what will they think of you then?
On Teacher Discretion
Aside from the policies we implement as standard in our courses, teachers may at their discretion give different but equitable treatment to students under extenuating circumstances. This includes things like redoing assessments, grade weighting adjustments, alternative assessments, etc. This is a power that teachers will use sparingly and requires legitimate reasons/documentation. Extenuating circumstances are varied but may include things like technical difficulties during your computer-proctored assessments, extreme distress from personal/family issues, etc. Note that because we offer so much flexibility and freedom in how work is done and scheduled, most traditional excuses are not going to be accepted. Each discretion will be assessed on a case by case basis and is subject to the review of the Principal’s office.
On Attendance Monitoring
As the school course calendar mentions, students can only learn well if they are learning regularly and not cramming. The fact that we offer flexible study options does not mean you can work with bad habits with no consequences. Your studying should be planned out and any extended periods of no activity should be communicated to the school and your teachers. Although there is no such thing as being late or absences, we DO have logs on your activities. We may from time to time check on your access logs and if we notice long periods of inactivity with no explanation, we might send you reminders and/or lower your learning habits evaluation.