Course Requirements

Requirements for Mr. Jordan's History Classes


What do the grades mean?  A, A- indicates excellent performance; B+, B, B- indicates good performance; C+, C, C- indicates satisfactory performance; D+, D, D- indicates less than satisfactory performance; E indicates unsatisfactory performance. (Adapted from the website of Lane Community College.  At Phillips Exeter Academy, we have a high standard of excellence, perhaps even higher even than Lane CC).


Class participation is mandatory, not optionalFor an explanation of how your class participation may affect your grade, go to the Discussing History tab and select Grading.  To assess your own contributions to the class, consider the following:

1. Presence, physical and otherwise.  Students need to attend class in both body and spirit.  Body language says a lot about a person's mental presence and attentiveness--maybe even more-so during online classes.  I assume that excused absences are for a good reason, unexcused absences reflect a lack of commitment to the class.  On rare occasions, students may need to leave a class that is underway, usually to use the lavatory; on most days, such business should be taken care of in-between classes and frequently leaving class in the middle of a period is not acceptable short of a documented medical condition. 

2. Degree of preparation. Did you bring the readings and reference them during class? You should mark up the readings with underlining or highlighting and notes in the margins as a way of preparing to cite things from the reading as evidence during discussions.

3. Frequency of participation. Did you participate frequently without monopolizing the discussion? 

4. Appropriateness of participation. Did you respond to what others said in constructive ways? Did you listen with an open mind and seek to understand others' ideas?  Did you respond constructively and were you sometimes persuaded by opposing points of view?

5. Etiquette. Did you treat all members of the class with respect at all times? Did you direct remarks to other students or the group rather than the teacher? Please do not use electronic devices during the class.

For more on these criteria, see the Harkness discussion Guide under the Discussing History tab. 

Attention quiet students.  Students who regularly do not participate in class discussions may have their grade reduced.  But rather than reduce your grade I would like to help you get involved in the discussion.  If you are regularly not participating in class for some reason, please set up a meeting with me about how you can get into the conversation.  Go here for more specifics on how class participation effects your grade. 

For an interesting article about how positive group dynamics are more important than cumulative intelligence in determining the effectiveness of a group, follow this link to the Boston Globe.


IN-CLASS WRITING.  Some written work will be done in class.  These usually entail sitting down and writing for the whole class period (50 minutes).  Often you will be given a study guide ahead of time to prepare, and that will usually include key terms plus essay questions, one of which you will write on during the period.  There may also be short identification essays in which you identify and explain the historical significance of key terms (events, people, concepts). 



These essays should be typed, with double spacing.  

DEADLINES. Meeting deadlines is an important life skill and school is where we first are forced to practice it, for our own good.  Turn your papers in before the end of the class period when it is due.  A late paper will be penalized on the grade.  Occasionally there are unavoidable reasons you need extra time.  If you are experiencing one of these, read my LATE PAPER POLICY HERE, before asking me for an extension.  

ASSESSMENT OF PAPERS:  You can read about my standards for history papers here.  A different, more elaborate, set of standards applies to research papers, especially the "333."

Students have found my Paper-Writing Guide (PWG) helpful. 

HELP WITH WRITING PAPERS: If students have questions about the paper prompt or the assignment generally, they should ask them in class, since other students may have the same question.  I will not read and comment on individual student papers in advance of the due date.  The writing center is available for help with writing issues (item D on my "Assessment of Papers" page), but ultimately the paper is a product of your own work and your "mastery and understanding of the history we studied in preparation" for the paper (item A), which requires you to read carefully and review and study.  No one can do it for you. The exception is for research papers in which part of the assignment for every student involves feedback on drafts.     

REWRITE POLICY: Rewrites are allowed for students who receive a paper with a grade below B-.  Before you ask to do a rewrite, please read these guidelines.


NOTE-TAKING: You should take notes on your reading for two reasons. First, it will help you process and retain information. Second, they will be helpful when studying for exams, writing papers, or taking open-note quizzes. Don't take notes on everything. Write down the most important events, dates, people, concepts and themes. You should also write down any questions that you have. Finally, look up words that you don’t know.  Take notes in class too: write down information that I've put up on the board, any sudden revelations that come to you, or ideas that you would like to write about at a later time.  In-class note taking is particularly helpful for people who speak infrequently (it keeps them focused on the discussion) or too frequently (it gives them something to do other than speak incessantly).

MISSED CLASSES: If you miss a class you are expected to complete the reading; get notes from a classmate; obtain any missed handouts or assignments; and come to the following class fully prepared. Missing a class is not an excuse for being unprepared the next time.

CONTACT ME: Email: I tend to be in my classroom in between classes.  Come by if you have a free, or shoot me an email listing your free periods and we can set up an appointment.  I do evening duty in Peabody Hall one night a week (it's Thursday for Fall, 2023).   I love to discuss history, writing, Harkness, etc. with my students, so please don't hesitate to meet with me."   

You are responsible for knowing and following these policies:


Part of the mission of the history department is to train students to be critical thinkers in the discipline of history.  In doing so, the department expects students to be invested in their education and fully participate in their learning.  Regular contributions to Harkness discussions are one measure of this process, but students are also asked to produce work outside the classroom that constitutes a measurement of this work.  The expectation that accompanies these assessments in all their various forms is that students are producing work largely on their own merit, utilizing on-campus resources such as the library staff, Writing Center and peer tutoring when warranted.  Because graded assessments are to be representative of a student’s understanding and conveyance of scholarly materials, students may consult faculty on campus or family members, but in a limited capacity as critic, not a writer.  Students may not purchase papers online, use artificial intelligence to produce written materials, or engage with automated electronic interfaces that generate substantial improvements to a formal assessment.  It is worth recalling that plagiarism[1] is the unacknowledged use of another person’s ideas or words (or in the case of technology a computer-generated algorithm) and these practices either violate this rule or may misrepresent the level of knowledge and vocabulary acquisition by a student.

[1] For a fuller definition of plagiarism, see the History Department Statement on Plagiarism, below.


The most basic definition of plagiarism is the theft of another's intellectual property. The most serious form of plagiarism is the deliberate use of a source without alteration or attribution; cutting and pasting unacknowledged material from the Internet into an essay is one example. Copying the work of another person, failing to cite sources, failing to place borrowed phrasing between quotation marks, failing to paraphrase, and misuse of footnotes/citations may also be considered forms of plagiarism.

The History Department expects that students will cite their sources in their writing, as one of our educational goals is to train students in this critical scholarly practice. History teachers understand that mistakes in citation might occur as part of the learning process and that these mistakes may be unintentional. One of the tasks of the teacher is to notify a student when a form of misuse has occurred, so that a student might avoid this mistake in the future.

However, plagiarism can be a serious issue of academic dishonesty and can lead to disciplinary action. In a case of academic dishonesty involving plagiarism, a teacher must notify the chair of the history department and a discipline case may ensue. We expect that students will follow the guidelines for citing sources, ask their teachers when they have questions about citations, and learn from their mistakes. Above all, we expect that students will be honest in representing their own work and in acknowledging the sources they have used.