1. Grading is based on the 10 workbooks (60%), the final “project” (10%), and the exams (30%).
  2. We will consider quizzes/surveys and various forms of participation to adjust your grade.
  3. Do not expect Canvas to compute your grade.

Canvas cannot compute your grade for you. For example, it has no way to combine advanced points with basic points for the workbooks.

Your grade in this class will be determined by:

  1. (60%) Your grade on the 10 workbooks. See Workbooks (Grading) for details. Briefly: Your workbook grade combines the basic score (dropping the lowest 2 that you score above 50) and the advanced score.

  2. (10%) Your grade on the final project (which is a bigger workbook).

  3. (30%) Your exam grades. There will be 3 exams, each consisting of 3 parts. We will count all parts equally. (see Grading Philosophy below).

  4. (penalty) The surveys. Each week there will be a survey. We will track whether or not you complete the quizzes/surveys - but will not keep track of your score. If you miss more than 2 quizzes/surveys you will be penalized. We may deduct 1 point for each you miss (beyond the first two). We may check for legitimate attempts at quizzes (i.e., getting a question wrong counts as completing the quiz, but not trying does not count as completing it). See Policies (Surveys (Quizzes)) for more information.

  5. (bonus) Participation. At the end of the semester when we assign final grades, we may give people points to make the next grade boundary based on a subjective assessment of participation. We may look at whether students were present in synchronous lectures and activities, excess points and artistic merit on the workbooks (see Workbooks, contributions to Piazza, quality of responses to quizzes, quality of ungraded work (dropped workbooks and stochastic grading see below), etc. You may get 0-3 points for these things. Historically, these things are correlated with good performance in class.

Parts 1 (workbooks), (2) final project, and 3 (exams) will provide scores on a 100 point scale. Parts 3 (quizzes) and 4 (participation) are used to adjust this score when we map it to a grade boundary.

All class assignments will be graded on a 100 point scale, and converted to letter grades at the end. The class will use the following point scale (the lower bound is inclusive, so a 90 is an A, an 89.99 is an AB):

  • 90 and above A - the University does not award A+, but you can earn that on assignments and exams. You may score more than 100 on individual assignments.
  • 85-90 AB
  • 80-85 B
  • 75-80 BC
  • 70-75 C
  • 60-70 D (the university does not give a “DC” grade)
  • below 60 = failure

Canvas cannot compute your grade for you. In particular, it has no way to combine advanced points with basic points for the workbooks. Also, see the comment on rounding below.

Grading Philosophy

Grading is challenging - especially at scale.

My attitude: if everyone gets an A, I have a smart class. If not enough people get an A, I have unrealistic expectations.

Stochastic Grading

We have limited resources for assessing student work. We can’t check everything. Therefore, we won’t. For some things (exam questions, items in workbooks), we might not actually check your work - but will just give you the points if you turned something in. We call this “stochastic” grading because we will check only some of the assignments chosen at random.

A few things to note about this:

  • Just because you got points for something, doesn’t mean you got it correct. We will generally release the answers to things so you can check yourself.
  • If you request a regrade, we may check something that wasn’t graded and find out that you didn’t deserve points. (see Regrade Policy).
  • We might look at some of your ungraded work at the end of the semester as part of determining your participation bonus.

Notes on grade computation

  1. There are many ways to do rounding. The grade computations script does it in a particular way. If you compute your grade yourself, you might round differently. The most important thing is to be consistent. If I were to switch rounding schemes, I would need to do it in a fair and consistent way.

  2. The cutoffs are hard. The cutoffs (on the course web site since day 1) are what they are, and the class is designed to adjust grades around them. Yes, it is arbitrary that 90 is an A and 89.99 is an AB. But, this is no more arbitrary than 89.51 being an A and 89.5 being an AB (and debating with students whether 89.51 or 89.5 should be the cutoff). No matter where you set a cutoff, someone will be on the wrong side of it. (in some ways, this is a form of aliasing (a mathematical thing we will learn about that applies to graphics as well) - it’s a property of a discrete grading grading system)

  3. Rather than trying to make a better rounding rule, we have the “participation points” that let us move students close to a boundary up to the next level, based on whatever data we have available.