CS151.01 2009F Functional Problem Solving : Handouts

Additional Information on Grading Policies

This handout is also available in PDF.

Summary: The course front door provides a quick summary of the weights of various components of the course. The narrative on teaching and learning provides some general perspectives on how I grade. This document provides a bit more detail on how I will be grading this class.


Late Assignments

My experience shows that students who turn in work late learn significantly less than students who turn material in on time. (I'm not sure about cause and effect.) Hence, I strongly discourage late assignments. Unless prior arrangements have been made, assignments are due within five minutes of the start of class. After that they are considered late. Late assignments are penalized approximately one letter grade per day late (or fraction thereof).

Because I am concerned about your health and well being, I will waive the late penalty if (1) you start the assignment at least three days in advance of the due date; (2) you get to sleep by midnight the night before the assignment is due; (3) you expend a reasonable amount of effort to complete the assignment by midnight; (4) you turn in a note attesting to facts (1), (2), and (3) when the assignment is due; and (5) you talk to me ASAP about any problems you've had on the assignment.

If you are ill, I will make appropriate accomodations. Please let me know as soon as possible if illness will make it difficult for you to turn in an assignment on time.

Class Participation

As I suggest in my statement on teaching and learning, I don't think you learn the material as well if you don't participate actively in the class. I also know that if you're not here, you can't participate. Hence, a portion of your grade is based on participation and attendance. Students who miss no more than two classes and who regularly answer questions or make comments in class receive 90 for participation. Missing 3-5 classes results in a 10 point penalty. Missing 6-8 classes results in a 25 point penalty. Missing 9 or more classes results in a 50 point penalty. Particularly good answers, comments, and questions result in bonus points for participation. (A few students with schedule conflicts have arranged to regularly miss one day per week. Such students will not be penalized for missing those days.)

Because I do not want you to come to class when you are ill (and likely to infect others), I am likely to moderate this grading scheme for illness.

Weekly Homework

I have tried a variety of strategies for homework in 151. This semester, I will be assigning one homework for week (except in weeks in which an exam or project is due). All assignments (except for exams and projects) will be due on Wednesdays. I expect that each assignment will take between two and three hours. If an assignment takes longer, there is probably something wrong with both the assignment and your understanding, so please come see me as soon as possible or raise the issue in class.

When grading homework this semester, I will typically use a plus/check/minus/zero system. Homework that is primarily correct will earn you a check. Errors will earn you a check-minus or a minus. Significant errors may earn you a zero. Failure to turn the assignment in will earn you a zero. Particularly nice work will earn you a check-plus or a plus. At the end of the semester, I will convert the symbols to aletter or numeric grade. If your grades a mostly checks grades you will earn a B. Plus grades on approximately 1/4 of the graded assignments plus checks on remaining assignments will earn you an A. Minus grades on the majority of the assignments will earn you a C. Zero grades will earn you an even lower grade.


When grading exams this semester, I will begin each student at 100 points and remove points for each error I encounter. When I encounter something particularly exceptional, I may add points. I typically guarantee minimum grades on examinations for students who spend a reasonable amount of time on the exam. (Warning: My view of reasonable may be somewhat longer than your view.)

Disclaimer: I usually create these pages on the fly, which means that I rarely proofread them and they may contain bad grammar and incorrect details. It also means that I tend to update them regularly (see the history for more details). Feel free to contact me with any suggestions for changes.

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Samuel A. Rebelsky, rebelsky@grinnell.edu

Copyright © 2007-9 Janet Davis, Matthew Kluber, Samuel A. Rebelsky, and Jerod Weinman. (Selected materials copyright by John David Stone and Henry Walker and used by permission.) This material is based upon work partially supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. CCLI-0633090. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.5/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 543 Howard Street, 5th Floor, San Francisco, California, 94105, USA.