Section IV.A.4 of the Faculty Handbook explains the duty of faculty members to report grades:
Among the accepted responsibilities and obligations of each member of the faculty is that of reporting to the Registrar, at the appointed times, grades in accordance with the grading system and with the grading regulations which the faculty shall from time to time adopt. Further, faculty members are expected to make timely evaluations of students throughout the year.
Inherent in the responsibility of reporting grades is the further understanding that all such grades reported shall have been determined, in the final analysis, on the basis of the faculty member’s own professional evaluation of each individual student’s work.
This above indicated responsibility is considered to be part of the contractual relationship between the individual faculty member and the College, and the failure to fulfill this obligation will be considered a breach of contract.
In each of my courses, I fulfill this responsibility to the letter. However, I advise students in general, and students in this course in particular, that they should not regard the grades reported to the registrar as complete or even adequate assessments of their intellectual strengths and weaknesses. Grinnell College's grading system is extremely inexpressive and vague.
The role of grades in the operation of the College is to support the generation of factoids (grade-point averages) that provide specious quantitative justifications for decisions about progress towards graduation, off-campus study, academic honors, and such like. When collected on transcripts, grades also provide a convenient though potentially misleading way of summarizing academic performance, for the benefit of personnel managers and graduate-school admission committees, who cannot take the time to read accurate assessments of candidates' strengths and weaknesses.
I therefore urge students to pay much closer attention to their verbal interactions with me and to the comments that I make on the papers they submit than to the grade that I report at the end of the course. The grade is, as specified, determined on the basis of my professional evaluation of your individual work.
The language of the Faculty Handbook imposes an inconvenient constraint on me with respect to this particular course, since its backbone is a team project in software development. It requires me to consider closely what contribution each of you, as an individual, makes to the project. There is a tension between this obligation and the course goal of promoting cooperative and collaborative methods in software development. This is another reason why the grades that I report to the registrar inadequately express my assessments of student work. Course grades reflect students' successes and failures in collaborative software development only to the extent that those successes and failures are reflected in their contributions as individuals.
The required work for this course comprises
Your performance on the team project will determine half of your final grade, the programming exercises and essays one-third, the final examination one-tenth, and class participation and similar imponderables the remaining one-fifteenth.
If you miss a class session, you must also submit solutions to the study questions designated as makeups for that session. Your performance on those questions will be included in the part of the grade allocated to programming exercises and essays.
For extra credit, you may submit solutions to study questions even if you attended the designated class sessions. (Unsuccessful or incorrect solutions submitted for extra credit cannot lower your grade, but correct ones can raise it.)
Given the choice between good work that is late and poor or incomplete work that is on time, I prefer the former. Therefore, if you submit a programming exercise or an essay that is satisfactory, but late, I generally do not impose a penalty. On the other hand, if you take extra time for an assignment and still turn in poor work, I judge it more harshly than if you had turned in the same work on time.
However, on programming assignments and essays, I cannot give credit for work that you submit after I have returned corrected papers to other students in the course or posted a solution on the World Wide Web, although I will still examine and comment on it. Similarly, I cannot give credit for an exercise that you submit after the solution has been discussed or presented in class, either by me or by a student, even if you did not attend the class session in which the discussion occurred.
In addition, I cannot give credit for programming assignments, essays, and answers to study questions that you submit after 5 p.m. on Friday, May 11 (the last day of classes), or for work on the team project that you submit after 5 p.m. on Wednesday, May 16.