COMP 105: Homework, Exams, and Grades

Most work for this course involves programming assignments. These assignments are significantly more challenging than the assignments in COMP 15 and COMP 40, but most of them are also much smaller: many solutions take 10 to 40 lines of code. Many of the assignments will use software that comes with the text by Ramsey.

The course will also have two exams: a midterm and a final.

Homework grades

Your homework grades will be based on the course staff's judgement of the quality of your work and your mastery of the material. Grades are assigned on the same scale used by the National Science Foundation:

Examinations and examination grades

An examination should test not only your mastery of familiar material but also your ability to apply your knowledge to unfamiliar situations. To do well on my exams, you must

When you take one of my exams, expect not to know all the answers.

Each exam consists of multiple problems; you may be expected to read and write code. Each problem is worth a certain number of points; the number depends on how hard I think the problem is and how long it takes to complete the problem. Most problems are in multiple parts of varying difficulty:

It is very rare for an answer to earn all points available on a problem.

Every exam is unique, but on average, if you earn two-thirds of the available points, your grade will probably be Good or Very Good.

Course grades

Your course grade is based on my judgment of the quality of your work and the degree of mastery you demonstrate. My judgment is influenced by your written work, by your class participation, and by your examination scores, but I give heavy consideration to written work, as indicated by the following approximate system of weights:

Participation in classroom activities and recitations 10%
Office-hour visit to the course instructor 5%
Homework assignments59%
Midterm exam7%
Final exam 19%

This weighting may be adjusted at my discretion.

When determining final course grades, I consider the total picture including not only all of your work but any grading tendencies I have observed during the term. My goal is the final course grades should reflect a consistent standard, consistently applied.

In a typical class, a consistent record of Very Good homework, together with commensurate examination grades, will lead to a course grade in the A range. If a significant portion of work is rated Excellent, a grade of A+ is possible. Work rated Good corresponds to a wide range of passing grades centered roughly around B. Work rated Fair will lead to low but satisfactory course grades; if a significant fraction of your work is Poor, you can expect an unsatisfactory grade (D or F).

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