Your grade in CMPSCI 250 will be based on the following:

**Midterm Exams (30%):**There will be two midterm exams each counting 15% of your grade, on Monday 26 February and Tuesday 3 April, each 7-9 p.m. in rooms yet to be chosen by the University. I will write an exam intended to be finished in an hour, and give you two hours to finish it. (Over the years students have accused me of overestimating what they ought to be able to finish in an hour.) The exams from Fall 2017 and from other semesters may be used as practice exams.**Final Exam (35%):**This will be during the May final exam period as scheduled by the University, and will be cumulative, though with greater emphasis on the last third of the course. You will have two hours. In the past I have sometimes had the weight of the final exam variable, but this term it definitely counts 35%. The Fall 2017 250 final (with solution here) may be used as a practice exam.**Homework (20%):**There will be six homework assignments during the term. Together they will count for 20% of your final grade, with only the best five counting for 4% each. (The lowest grade will be dropped.) Homework must be turned in as PDF files on the Moodle site for the course. This will allow the TA's to grade it and give you feedback without the necessity of moving large quantities of paper around. PDF files may be generated in a variety of ways -- I would probably do it using Latex, but Word and other word processing software has options to produce PDF's. (On a Mac, any print command has a "save PDF" option.) You can also scan a handwritten document to produce a PDF which you can then turn in. (But what you submit*must*be readable -- you are responsible for reviewing your PDF yourself to see that it is. Cel phone pictures of bad handwriting will in general not work.) Late homework will in general not be accepted -- I'll deal with valid excuses by giving "excused" grades on particular assignments.**Discussions (7%):**Attendance at the Friday discussion sections is required and this portion of the course grade will be based on your attendance and participation. Participation will be measured by group responses to in-class writing assignments, usually based on "Excursion" sections of the text. You will be divided randomly into groups of 2-4 people and each group will hand in a response to the assignment. These will be graded "check" (B) or "check-plus" (A), and the best ten of your twelve will count for 7% of your total grade. There will also be a "virtual discussion" at the end of the term in which you answer a set of "essay" questions for course evaluation, which will be another discussion writing assignment (every serious response gets an A).**Moodle Quizzes (4%):**These short*true-false*exercises will occur once a week, normally due at 10:00 am on Tuesday. They will cover the material of the previous week's lectures. Some small number of these will be dropped -- the remainder will count for 4% of the total grade. A typical quiz will be 20 questions, with the grade being F for not doing it, C for half right (the expected result of guessing), and A for all right.**Clicker Questions (4%):**During most lectures there will be questions to be answered on a clicker device to be purchased or rented by you. (This is the only sense in which lecture attendance affects your grade.) The first clicker questions that count will be on Monday 29 January, the fourth lecture, so that you should have time to arrange to get a clicker. All answers wrong will get a C-, all answers right will get an A, and some small number of low results will be dropped.

My system for computing grades is a bit unusual, so I will try to explain it here. I take every graded component of the course and assign it a number on a scale from F (0) through C (200) to A (400) and sometimes higher. These are the numbers that are averaged together by Moodle to get your "course total" at the end of the term, and this is the basis for your letter grade. (For example, if your course total is 342, the closest letter grade to this is a B+ (333) so that's what you get. There is some provision for rounding up in close cases, since a 345 is within five points of the boundary (350) between A- and B+, I would give that an A-.

For exams and homeworks, there is thus both a raw score, typically
ranging from 0 to around 100, and a normalized score on the 0-400
scale.
The mapping from raw score to normalized score does *not* always
take
0 to 0. A typical scale for a homework assignment takes 30 (and
lower) to 0, 45 to 100, 60 to 200, 75 to 300, 90 to 400, and higher
grades above 400 by the same linear function. On each assignment, I
decide
*after grading* what raw score constitutes a 200, and what score
a 400, then find the linear function that meets those two points.

All work submitted must be your own **in presentation**. How much
outside help is allowed depends on the course component.

- The exams are
closed-book and no outside help is allowed.
**Any**cheating on an exam is grounds for an F in the course. - With homework the rule is a bit harder to specify.
You
**may**discuss homework with other students, in fact I encourage this as a learning experience. But again, the writeup must be your work. Copying is not allowed, and collaboration so close that it**looks like**copying is not allowed. (In general, if I get two identical homeworks we will accept neither of them (i.e., both get F's) and I will report this action to the Academic Honesty Board.) Remember to**tell us who you worked with**as well.A good practice is to divide your work into an "ideas phase" where you collaborate and a "writeup phase" where you work alone -- enter the writeup phase with notes, but not written solutions.

- If you make use of a printed or on-line source for the homework, other
than specific course materials such as the textbook or web site, please
**mention it in your writeup**. Of course copying a solution to a problem from the web, or from solutions given out in prior semesters, is cheating, and this is easier for us to detect than you might think. - You are free (and encouraged) to discuss answers to discussion and clicker questions, and to work together on Moodle quizzes.

Last modified 14 January 2018