by Mike Gleicher on August 30, 2014

Having to assign grades is one of the least enjoyable parts of teaching for me.

There are many things that will count towards your grade:

  1. The midterm and the final exam
  2. The two programming projects
  3. The assignments (programming and non-programming)
  4. Subjective factors (contributing to online discussions, turning things in on time, having assignments that are above and beyond the call of duty …)

The first two are simple. The exams and programming projects are graded on an A-F scale.

The last two are more problematic for grading. The assignments are a non-trivial amount of work, but it is difficult to score them. Generally, everyone does all of them, and they are simple enough that they aren’t distinguished.

No matter how I think about it, I can’t come up with a simple formula that weights the importance and size of the various parts.

So, here’s what we’ll do:

There are 5 things that get a grade (2 projects, 2 exams, and the total score on the assignments). We will count these roughly equally.

For people who do really well, the weights don’t matter. Any weighted average of all As is an A.  You try to be one of those people.

For people who didn’t get As across the board, we will look at the whole picture and try to be fair. If you did well on everything except for one thing, we’ll assume it was a fluke. If a student turned in everything late and didn’t contribute to the discussions, we probably won’t give them the benefit of doubt.  Basically, we’ll use the even weighting as a starting point, and then use the stuff not in those weightings (the quality, rather than quantity of assignments; subjective factors; consistency of timeliness; etc) to adjust your grade up to a half-grade in either direction.

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