Grading Policy 

Take your pick: 


For the more conventional: 


Grades will be determined from a cumulative score that is obtained from labs
and exams according to this distribution of credit: midterm exams (2) @ 20%
each; labs @ 30%; final exam @ 30%. Midterms will be graded on a scale of
0100. The contribution of a midterm score to the cumulative score will be 0.2
times the midterm score, for a maximum contribution of 20 points per exam. Labs
will be graded on a scale of 010 but only the 7 highest lab scores will count
toward the final score. Thus, the contribution of lab scores to the cumulative
score will be 3/7 times the total lab score (7 highest) for a maximum
contribution of 30 points. The final exam will be graded on a scale of 0100.
The contribution of the final exam score to the cumulative score will be 0.3
times the final exam score for a maximum of 30 points. Letter grades will be
assigned on an informal "curve" from a ranking of student cumulative scores. 



For those who like to explore and dislike exams: 

Grades will be determined from the number of brownie points
that are accumulated during the semester. Brownie points will be awarded upon
successful completion of a relevant project or other activity that is agreed to
in advance by both the student and the professor. The number of brownie points
for a given project must be negotiated but is typically between 5 and 25. Some
of the harder labs may count for brownie points  this is to be negotiated. A
project that is worth 25 brownies could be the development of a new assignment,
say regarding Haskell Monads. An activity worth 5 brownies could be research to
settle a question that arises in class. A successfully completed difficult lab
may add 10 brownies to the student's total. A student receiving at least 100
brownies for the semester get an "auto A." A student receiving at least 92
brownies is eligible for an "auto A," a student receiving at least 87 brownies
is eleigible for an "auto B+," and a student receiving at least 80 brownies is
eligible for an "auto B." A student with a brownie total that is less than 80
must be graded using the conventional scheme above. A student with at least 80
brownie points may elect to be graded using the conventional scheme.
In that case, brownies will be exchanged for conventional points according to
the conversion rate in Note 1 below. 



For the creative but risk averse: 

Try some exploratory projects but also take the exams and
do the labs. The highest of the two grades (conventional and exploratory) will
be awarded. Or, cash in your brownies for conventional points and be graded
conventionally. 



For a class full of competitive but exam averse students: 

If the class agrees, programming contests will replace the
two midterms and final. Students will compete in teams of two to solve a
certain number of problems in a certain time, approximately 3 or 4 hours. The
single midterm contest will be held on a Saturday. For example contests see the 2014 contest record which includes practice contests.
Contests will be scored using a scale of 0100, on the creative use of a
language to solve particular problems, not on placement in the standings. Team
members get the same score, so choose carefully. Distribution of points for
grade determination will be: each contest @ 35%, labs @ 30% (calculated as
above). These are considered conventional points so the above conventional
grading policy applies and conversions from brownies, as below, will be honored.
As above, a student on the exploratory track may skip all this, if desired. 



Note 1: 

Brownie points may be converted to conventional
points. The following table shows the conversions (all conversions are from
integers to integers  the converted value will always be rounded down to the
nearest integer).
Brownie Range 

Conversion Factor 

0 to 19   0.10 
20 to 39   0.15 
40 to 49   0.20 
50 to 59   0.25 
60 to 69   0.30 
70 to 79   0.35 
80 to 89   0.50 
90 to 99   0.75 
Over 99   1.00 
As examples, 70 brownie points converts to 24 conventional points, 10 brownie
points converts to 1 conventional point, and 5 brownie points converts to 0
conventional points.


Note 2: 

Conventional points may be converted to brownie
points using the same table as above. For example, 70 conventional points
converts to 24 brownie points. If you convert, then change your mind, you lose
big: for example, 70 conventional points will then be replaced with 3
conventional points. 

Note 3: 

You do not have to declare how you want to be
graded (if you have a choice) until finals weeks. 

Note 4: 

Occasionally, brownies will be awarded for
attending class. This could add as much as 15 brownies to your total. 

Note 5: 

A student who does all the difficult labs may get
50 brownies for that effort. Add 15 brownies for attendance to get 65 brownies
just for being a good student! How hard can that be? By the way, if a group
completes a project for brownies, the number of brownies that project is worth
is divided equally among all members of the group. 