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

**Midterm Exams:**There will be three midterm exams, on Tuesday or 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 7:00-9:00 to finish them. (Over the years my students have accused me of overestimating what they ought to be able to finish in an hour.) You can find similar exams (in length and content) to the Fall 2007 exams on my CMPSCI 250 web pages for Fall 2004, Spring 2005, and Spring 2006. But note that this term the content of the third quarter of the course is different, so I will post a new practice exam here about a week before the actual third midterm. Solutions are also posted for most of these exams.**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. The practice and real final exam on the Fall 2004 web site, and the real final exams on the Spring 2005 web site and the Spring 2006 web site, are each similar in length and content to the eventual fall exam*except*for the new content in the third quarter of Fall 2007.**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. There will be some provision for dropping the worst of the eight homeworks.**Group homework:**Some of the homework will be group assignments. I will assign groups of three or four students after the first homework, and each group will be responsible for turning in a single solution to the group problems after meeting, dividing responsibility, and so forth.**Discussion Writings:**During each of the eleven discussion periods there will be a problem for which**each group**is to submit a written response. Groups for discussions will be assembled at the time and last only for the discussion period. 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.) (A few discussions may have individual rather than group writing assignments.)

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 (i.e., both get F's) 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 2007