Grading in this class uses a fixed percentage system (ie - there is no curve)
90% and above is an A
80% and above is a B
70% and above is a C
60% and above is a D
Lower scores result in an E.
There is one adjustment to the straight percentage system. At the end of the semester your score is added up and then it is converted to an integer where all fractional points round up. This becomes critical to students on the border between one grade or another because it means that a student with a 89.0001% score will round up to 90% which is the A line. The reason for this non-mathematically conventional practice is that grading however well done has some lack of precision. It is really impossible to distinguish the subject mastery of a student with 89.0001% from a student with 90.0001%. The round-up procedure gives students that are "too close to call" the benefit of the doubt.
Points for grading are earned from in class proficiency exercises (35% of your grade) and field labs (65% of your grade). Each proficiency or lab is equally weighted and your proficiency score is just the mathematical average of your 7 proficiency exercises and your lab score is just the mathematical average of your 6 field labs.
Proficiency exercises are graded on an individual basis and involve you demonstrating your ability to use an instrument for a routine measurement during "class time". Field Labs, on the other hand, involve working in teams. Your team need turn in only one set of field notes and/or one map. This work will constitute 65% of your lab grade. The remaining points are 25% for having your tail section there and working with your team and 10% for actually participating like you are trying to learn something.