All essays were graded anonymously (by covering the name at the top of the sheet).
Each question was graded separately.
Scores are on the back of each sheet.
The maximal score for each question was 10 points. To receive 10 points an essay did not have to include all the information we discussed on the topic, but it did have to include enough clear and accurate information that someone reading the essay would understand most of the important points we covered.
Most essays received partial credit as a result of including incomplete or inaccurate information.
To determine your total points for this exam, add up the three scores for the three questions. The maximal number of points for this exam is thus a total of 30. (Check the distribution of grades for this exam.)
To receive a straight B for the semester, you should earn a total of 90 points (an average of 18 points on each of 5 exams). To receive a straight C, you should earn a total of 60 points (an average of 12 points on each of 5 exams). At the end of the semester I also examine everybody's scores and award some extra credit for consistent improvement on exams (especially after the first exam). The target for a B is subject to adjustment by me at the end of the semester. The target for a C is engraved in stone!
If you would like me to regrade your exam, return your exam (all three questions) to me with a separate note about what you feel needs correcting before the next exam.
Most important ... I will be glad to talk to each of you about any exam. Good times are immediately after class or later in the afternoon (see me after lecture to arrange a time).
NOTES ON THE ESSAYS
1. (10 minutes) Describe a sensitive period in behavioral development.
I thought the first two questions were going to be easy ones. All essays identified examples of sensitive periods (usually for imprinting, bird song, or visual cortex). On the other hand, good definitions were infrequent (a time during development when certain features of external stimulation influence learning or neural connections), and too many essays included relatively little specific information about the sensitive periods mentioned -- or about the experiments that have investigated sensitive periods. The lecture notes include information about the timing and variation in sensitive periods for different kinds of responses by different species -- and typical experiments.
2. (10 minutes) Describe a predisposition in behavioral development.
This question had the same problems. A good definition of a predisposition in behavioral development (a tendency to pay attention to certain kinds of external stimulation during learning) was often missing or incomplete. Most essays identified examples of predispositions (or relative lack thereof), usually imprinting and bird song. Again many essays included relatively few specifics about the examples mentioned.
3. (10 minutes) Are insects relevant to understanding human behavior?
Lots of variation in responses here! I focused on clear statements about information in the book, the more specific the better. Some essays included interesting details about ant and human social behavior, and some included good summaries of important issues. Some really good essays included **both** clear statements of issues and good details about examples -- plus some crucial definitions. My overall impression was that nearly (but not quite) everybody swallowed Wilson's arguments, as they say, hook, line, and sinker!