I use several methods of grading and tend to shy away from just tests and quizzes. Sometimes I alternate from one semester to the next by either having a midterm and a final or two writing assignments in which I make my students write essays over what we covered in class. Students often meet the non-test option with hesitation but once students realize it allows the class to be freer, there is very good acceptance of writing essays. When I do include a midterm and a final (as I did on this syllabus), I also have two writing projects for students to complete. I feel that writing is essential to earning an education and just because my class happens to be a history class, I do not excuse the students from having and practicing good writing skills. Nevertheless, as a community college teacher there are some problems with this because a few students my not have taken college-level composition courses. I do ask the students if they have had composition to be able to suggest ways for those students who have not to get help. In the case of this syllabus, the projects will be essays that will deal with some of the readings I have assigned, with some room for individual preferences. To enforce that students keep up with the readings as the semester progresses, I have reader responses on class discussion days. I also have different class activities that students either do individually or as groups to enforce and reinforce concepts and ideas.