Grading and collaboration policy

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Collaboration policy

You may collaborate with other students on your labs (problem sets) so as to come up with general ideas on how to implement things, but your code must be your own. Aside from the standard code that comes with the lab, all the code you submit must have been written by you, with an understanding of what it does. We get very sore if we catch someone cheating.

Grade distribution

We do not grade on a curve, and because there will be little or no time pressure on the quizzes and the final, we expect the grade distribution to reflect understanding. In past years, we have seen a great deal of understanding.

Grading policy

Calculation

Your grade in 6.034 will be calculated as the weighted average of eight scores:

  • max(Quiz 1 - core, Final part 1 - core)
  • max(Quiz 2 - core, Final part 2 - core)
  • max(Quiz 3 - core, Final part 3 - core)
  • max(Quiz 4 - core, Final part 4 - core)
  • max(Quiz 2 - spiritual and right now, Final part 2 - spiritual and right now)
  • max(Quiz 3 - spiritual and right now, Final part 3 - spiritual and right now)
  • max(Quiz 4 - spiritual and right now, Final part 4 - spiritual and right now)
  • Average lab (problem set) grade

Weights will be determined by the end of the first week of class.


The "spiritual" part refers to lectures not consider part of the core skill set; the "right-now" part refers to lectures given by what's-happening-right-now lecturers.

See Reference material and playlist for assignment of material to quizzes.

All of these scores will be on a 1-5 scale, averaged together like a GPA. The 1-5 scale is not based on a class average -- we do not calculate class averages -- but rather on what the instructors consider the scores to mean:

5 Thorough understanding of the topic
4 Acceptable understanding of the topic
3 Some understanding of the topic
2 or 1 Poor understanding of the topic

You will get an A if your average score is 4.5 or higher, a B if it is 3.5 or higher, but below 4.5, and so on. If you are near one of the transition points, your recitation instructor can decide whether to round your grade up or down based on your class participation. See Winston's article in the Faculty News Letter for more discussion

Quizzes

There are four 1-hour quizzes, held in the same time slot as lectures. Quiz 1 will contain solely core material, and Quizzes 2-4 will contain core, spiritual and "right now" material (material from the "right now" lectures).

There are also seven sections of the final, corresponding to the core and right now parts on each of the quizzes, which are treated independently.

The grades you receive for each core or right now section are the maximum of your quiz grade on that section and your grade on the corresponding section of the final. If you do well on a quiz section, you need not do the corresponding section of the final. You may decide not to take a quiz with a view toward taking the corresponding parts of the final, but we do not recommend this option.

Note that the maximizing is by quiz and final section, not by problem or topic. If you get a perfect score on one question of a quiz section, and a zero on the other, you will have to do well on the entire corresponding section of the final to improve your score.

Absence

If you have to miss a quiz for any reason---sickness (including hospitalization), family emergency (including death of a relative), marriage (including yours), conference, sporting event, job interview, another quiz, etc.---you need not worry about 6.034. You just need to take the corresponding section on the final examination.

Regrades

Sometimes we will a mistake when grading a quiz. You may submit your quiz back to us to be regraded by talking to your TA. Regrade requests must be submitted before the next quiz. Regrades can only result in increasing your grade: even if we find something where your grade should have been lower, we will not take off additional points in the regrade.

Labs (aka Problem Sets)

Labs are submitted as Python programs, and are graded automatically.

Every lab comes with a file called "tester.py", which you use both to test and to submit your code. It has an "offline" and an "online" (or "submit") mode, which may or may not contain the same test cases. When you use the online tester, you receive your grade automatically. You can always resubmit to try to improve your grade.

Sometimes, the tester will generate random test cases. The point is to make sure that your code is actually doing the right thing, not just doing barely enough to pass the public tests.

Hard-coding the answers is cheating. Don't do it.

Lab grades

Labs are graded on a 5-point scale. If you pass all the online tests, you get a 5. If you miss one online test, you get a 4. (Remember that you can fix the bug and try again!) From there, your grade decreases linearly at a slower rate with the number of test cases you miss.

You can view all of your grades for submitted labs on the lab grades page. Your grade for a lab will never decrease: If you re-submit a lab late or with a solution that passes less of the online tests, the command line output may show a lower grade, but your grade on the lab grades page will not go down.

It is your responsibility to make sure that your code was submitted correctly. We are unlikely to fix your grade when you realize a month later that you didn't actually submit your lab.

Submitting your lab code

When you test your lab online, you also send a copy of your lab directory to the server. Make sure that this directory actually contains all the code you wrote to solve the lab. If you mess it up, submit again. Even though we have an automated grader, we do like to look at your lab solutions ourselves sometimes.

Late labs

You can submit late labs at any time for some credit. Your grade for a late lab has a half-life of one week. The equation is:

(your lab grade)*(0.5)^(t/7)

where t is the number of days late. The table below shows examples of the maximum grade as a function of days late. With this grading policy, we generally do not grant extensions for labs, but you can talk to your TA if you have extenuating circumstances.

Days Late Best possible Grade
0 5.0
1/24 (1 hour) 4.98
1/2 (12 hours) 4.76
1 4.53
2 4.10
3 3.71
4 3.36
5 3.05
6 2.76
7 2.5
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