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

**Midterm Exams:**There will be three midterm exams, on Thursday evenings as specified on the syllabus. Each will count for 15% of the course grade. I will write exams intended to be finished in an hour, and give you from 6:00-8:00 to finish them. (Over the years my students have accused me of overestimating what they ought to be able to finish in an hour.) I will post practice exams about a week before the real ones, similar in length and content.**Final Exam:**This will be during the December final exam period as scheduled by the University, and will be cumulative. You will have two hours. This exam will count for 25% of your final grade,**except**that I will count it for 50%, and reduce the weights of all other components proportionally, if this is to your advantage. I'll post a practice final about a week before the real one.**Homework:**There will be eight homework assignments during the term. Together they will count for 20% of your final grade. The questions will mostly be taken from the textbook. Late homework will in general not be accepted -- we'll deal with valid excuses by giving "excused" grades on particular assignments. The worst of the eight homeworks will not count.**Discussion Writings:**During each of the eleven discussion periods there will be a problem for which you are to submit a written response. These will be graded individually by me on a scale of "check-plus (A)", "check" (B), "check-minus" (C), and "no response or absent" (F). Any sincere attempt to solve the problem will get at least a check. Often actually solving the problem is enough for a check-plus. (Often there will be a series of problems and I'll decide after the fact how far you need to have gotten for the check-plus.) The discussion writings will count together for 10% of your final grade. (Attendence at discussions is thus "required", in that missing a discussion without a major excuse (medical, family emergency, etc.) incurs a grade penalty.)

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. - In discussions, almost anything goes as a source of information, including the instructor, TA, and your classmates, but you must still write up the solution in your own words so direct copying is not allowed.
- With homework the situation is in between and the rule
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 I will accept neither of them and will give you a stern warning that could lead to formal action the next time.) 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 is cheating, and this is easier for us to detect than you might think.

Last modified 7 September 2004