Requirements and Grades

  • Attendance is required and is the single most important way to ensure success in this course.

  • Reading: Reading assignments in the text are required. You are expected to read the text material and to be able to answer the review questions at the end of each chapter. 

  • Quizzes: There will be 4 quizzes throughout the semester. Only your 3 highest scores of the quizzes will be counted in your final grade, each one worth 6% for a total of 18% of the final grade. The quizzes are multiple choice questions, identical in format to the exam questions, but are much shorter in length and will only take 10 to 15 minutes.

  • Homework: There will be 4 homework assignments, worth 4% each, for a total of 16% of the final grade. I will not accept late homework.

  • Exams: The course is divided into three parts and each covered by a section exam, worth 22% each for a total of 66% of your final grade. The exams consist of multiple-choice questions, which are drawn from both class material and reading assignments. Anything discussed in class or in the reading assignments may appear on an exam.  

The final will be a comprehensive exam covering all of the material covered in the course and will operate in the same way as the section exams during the semester. The exam date is scheduled by the university sometime during the final week.     

The highest three scores of the four exams (3 section exams + the final) will be used to determine your course grade. The final is"optional" in the following sense: If you are satisfied with your three section exam scores you do not need take the final.

Please bring your ID and a #2 pencil to all exams, since we will be using machine-graded forms. No reference materials are allowed in the in-class exams. The exams will test concepts and some basic math ideas; they are designed to test your understanding,  not your ability to push buttons.   

Makeup exam (or quiz) policy

  • If you miss an exam because of illness or a family emergency, please contact me as soon as possible, and I will set up a make-up time. You must arrange to provide written documentation explaining your absence and provide me with a phone number of someone I can contact regarding your absence.

  • If you have to miss an exam because of participation in a university athletic event or other university-related event, you must make arrangements for a make-up exam at least a week in advance and provide written documentation from your coach/event organizer. 

  • For undocumented excuses, oversleeping, etc., you must contact me no later than 24 hours after the exam. In general I will allow you to take the make-up exam with a 20%-point penalty. 

  • Make-ups may be oral- or essay-style (my option). Persons who do not contact me on time will receive a zero for that exam. 


Grades will be assigned on a straight scale. Scores will be adjusted upward if an exam is too hard. 

  • The guaranteed minimum grade: 

          92%   A
          88%   A-
          85%   B+
          82%   B
          78%   B-
          75%   C+
          72%   C
          68%   C-
          65%   D+
          60%   D
  • Summary of Components of Final Grade: 
    3 of 4 quizzes                        18%
    3 of 4 exams                          66% 
    4 homework sets                    16% 


ACADEMIC HONESTY: It is highly destructive when anyone cheats on an exam. It corrodes the academic environment and cheapens the value of your education. I will not tolerate cheating, nor should you. No one should expect to pass the course if they cheat during an exam. 

Houjun Mo
Astronomy 100