Department of
Computer Science and Engineering

CSE 131 / 501N

Spring 2018

Grading and Demo Policies

Who is the arbiter of policy in this course?

The instructors, and only the instructors, should be approached with questions of policy. You can approach them on piazza, but accept responses as valid only if they come from, or are endorsed by, one of the instructors.

Every semester a student will tell us that a TA clarified policy to that student in a way that goes against our written policies. The TAs are instructed not to address policy issues, and we routinely point the misled student to the web pages, where the policies are clear.

If you have questions about policy, ask an instructor.

When and how do I demo my work?

Your work in computer science often consists of creating code based on a particular specification. To earn credit for that code, a student must typically do the following: While some of the above criteria can be checked automatically, you are typically requred to demonstrate your code and its correct operation to a TA.

If you are required to demo your work to a TA, please take note of and abide by the following: Work that is judged by a TA may be demoed only in our lab spaces, only during our class's lab times, and only by a TA who is officially on duty.

Asking a TA to demo your work outside of the allowable places or times puts both of your academic careers in jeopardy. Don't do it!.
You are also required to commit and push your work, and the assignments contain instructions for doing that reliably.

How are grades computed?

We recognize that students enter CSE131 with a wide variety of backgrounds. Therefore, CSE131 strives for a non-competitive learning environment. Our aim is to help you learn, not filter you out. To avoid putting you in competition with your classmates, we will not compare students in the determination of grades for CSE131. No means are used against you, and there are no curves.

Your semester score is computed as the following weighted average:

Component Weight
Quizzes 2%
Studios 8%
Labs 25%
Final Project 5%
Extensions 25%
Best 3 out of 4 Exams 30%
Exercises 2%
Questions for Studio 2%
Course Evaluation 1%
Easy way: Take the quiz just after you have completed the lab, repeating it until you get all the points.
Easy way: Make sure you attend all but one studio.
You earn credit for studios simply by participation. The studios are an important component of how material is learned in this course. They are essentially a substitute for lecture, except that you learn actively by doing rather than by listening.

At the end of each studio session, you are cleared by a TA and your participation is automatically recorded.

  • If you attend a studio and are checked out by a TA, you receive a 1 for that studio. If you do not attend and are not allowed to make up the studio, you will receive a 0.
  • In the following, suppose
    • the sum of all your studio scores is k, meaning that you have credit for k studios.
    • by the end of the course, there have been S studios this semester, S ≥ k.
    Your studio fractional score is then computed as min(k,S-1)/(S-1), and you earn that fraction of the available points shown in the Studios row of the table above.

    This formula allows you to miss one studio without penalty. Here are some examples:

    k S Formula Fractional
    9 9 min(9,8)/8 1.000
    8 9 min(8,8)/8 1.000
    7 9 min(7,8)/8 0.875
  • You may become ill, have a job interview, or a team sports event you must attend. How do you obtain an excused absence? Here are the steps:
    1. Before the end of the affected studio session, you must have requested approval for the absence using this form.
    2. The instructors will consider your request, and the approval along with your name and studio session will appear on this sheet. Do not expect the results to be available until the end of the affected studio, say by 6 PM. The results may appear sooner, but please do not send emails or post on piazza about this.
    3. If approved, you are expected to make up the studio with TAs in their office hours on Sundays or Mondays, on the next session at which you are available.
  • Your individual studio scores are posted to blackboard as announced on piazza.
  • Any errors in the posting of your blackboard scores must be addressed within a week of the piazza post telling you the scores are there. You address problems of this nature by contacting an instructor by email.
Each module of this course has a lab assignment. Most labs are graded by the demo you perform in front of a TA. The TA will inspect your code, watch your demo, and pass you on that lab assignment if both are satisfactory.

The TA will ask you some simple questions about your work, and may ask you to modify your lab if it does not meet the style standards for this course. In such cases you can fix up the lab during your lab section or you can resubmit the work as a late lab (see below).

Labs are due as posted on the course calendar and syllabus.

Some labs allow for partial credit, but such allowances are always documented on the associated lab page posted for this course.

Some labs are graded by a robotic grader, which is based on the code you have pushed to your repository at bitbucket. While we tell you in so many ways to make sure your code is pushed, some of you will not pay attention, and the result is that you will receive a 0 on the associated lab assignment.

You can easily avoid this problem by following the instructions carefully that are posted on every studio, lab, and extension assignment.

Your lab score is the fraction of labs you have completed as compared to those assigned. Thus, your lab score will be 100% if all labs are completed as described above.

Final project
A final project (game) will be designed and posted. This project integrates your work from the semester and provides an opportunity for you to add creative components.

A contest with prizes will be held with TAs judging the winning entries.

This policy is new, so be sure to read it carefully. You are responsible for following this policy, not any that you find on other web pages or other semesters.
Easy way: At each of the three deadlines, demo, push, and commit another 25 points worth of extensions.
While the labs test your basic knowledge of the course material, the extensions serve both to reinforce each module specifically but also to integrate techinques between the modules.

Extensions are demonstrated like labs, with a TA evaluating both your code and its functionality. Please read the following carefully concerning how extension points are counted.

Extensions can be submitted at any of the following times:

We will give four exams for this course:

No make-up exams are given, but we will drop your lowest exam score, thus counting the best 3 of 4 exams that we give.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you are available for the exams you wish to take.

Easy way: Complete, commit, and push exercises after watching the videos and before you come to studio.
Exercises are assigned for almost every module, interpsersed with the videos you watch. Your exercise fraction is computed as the ratio of the exercises you attempt, commit, and push before their associated studio out of the total number of exercises offered. To count, your exercises must be done on time, before the associated studio, and they must be pushed to bitbucket successfully.

Feedback about your progress on exercises is provided in the gradedwork directory of your repository.

Questions for Studio
This idea comes to us from Jon Turner, and we are trying it the first time this semester in CSE131. We'll be asking you for your feedback about this idea at midterm.
At the end of the material you view and complete for each module—the videos and exercises—you will find a link to a form to submit questions.

Course Evaluation
You receive credit for this by completing the course evaluation by the deadline announced on piazza. Note that the evaluations are open after the posted deadline, but you must have completed your evaluation by the posted deadline or you cannot receive credit here for the evaluation.

How are grades assigned?

Your letter grade in this course is based on your semester score, computed as described above. No rounding is performed on your semester score: you must have at least the stated number of points to earn the associated grade. The following table explains how the score is converted into a letter or pass/fail grade:
Score Grade
93 A Pass
90 A-
87 B+
83 B
80 B-
77 C+
73 C
70 C-
60 D Fail
0 F
Some notes:

While the rules are necessarily inflexible, the instructors look forward to spending time with you in studio and labs to help you learn this material. We are dedicated to that outcome so count on us and the TAs to help you learn (and hopefully love) computer science.

What if I feel my work was not graded properly?

Once a grade for an assignment has been posted to blackboard, you have one week to ask for a review of that grade.
It is your responsibility to check your grades and make an appeal, if appropriate, in the alloted time period.

Appeals made beyond the one-week consideration period will not be considered. Emails or piazza posts concerning regrades past the one-week consideration period will not be answered.

Last modified 09:02:42 CST 07 January 2018 by Ron K. Cytron