How you will be graded

My philosophy on grading: I consider homework to be a tool for learning, quizzes to be tools for self-assessment, and exams to be intruments for evaluation. If I had my druthers, your entire grade would be based on exams. However, coursewide, we are allotted 150 points out of 650 for quizzes and homework, so here is how it will go:

HOMEWORK: Before we finish a section, I will give you a list of problems related to that section that you are responsible for figuring out how to do. These may be problems from the text, and they may be problems I make up and give to you as a worksheet. I will give you a date by which you should finish these problems.

Of these problems, I will name a selected few that you are to turn in for correction. On each problem, you will get full points for a serious, competent effort, half points for a serious, reasonable effort with significant flaws, and no points for something shoddy or missing.

More important than your scores on these problems will be the correction of your work. This is the place where you learn how far you are from the standards for a complete, correct solution. If you see red ink on a problem, you have not met the standards, and your work would not receive full credit on a quiz or exam. If you see "OUCH!," "ACK!" or "NO!," my favorite exclamations of teacherly horror, your error is grievous, and were this an exam, you would have lost most or all points on the problem at hand. If you don't understand what produced the exclamation, you need to come see me for explanation.

QUIZZES: I will give you a quiz on a subject when you have had enough time to practice it and seek help with difficulties. You should expect to study for quizzes. They will demand more than a superficial familiarity with the material and will require that you have practiced algorithms enough to be able to carry them out quickly.

Quiz problems will be graded using the same standards as will be used on similar exam problems. This is the place where you learn whether your skills are exam-ready.

FREQUENCY AND WEIGHT: Each homework assignment and quiz will be graded over 50. At the end of the semester, your quiz score will be 150(points earned / points possible). Most weeks, you should expect both a quiz and a homework score. Exam weeks, you may have no score.

Note that if you have, say, 21 quiz/homework scores possible, failing to turn in one assignment or missing a quiz has the same effect on your final score as losing 7 points out of 100 on a midterm exam. Aside from that, it is my long experience that those students who do not regularly complete homework assignments are unprepared for the rigors of the exams and rarely pass the class.

The grading scale on quizzes and homework will be
A 85%-100%
B 75%-84%
C 65%-74%
D 50%-64%
The cutoffs on the midterm exams and the final exam will be no higher than this, and may be lower, depending on the difficulty of the exam. Cutoffs for the midterm exams will be announced when the exams are returned. If the percentage cutoffs for, say, a C on the three midterms and the final, respectively, are 65%, 60%, 62% and 61%, then the point cutoff (out of 650) for a C in the course will be 150(65%) + 100(65%) + 100(60%) + 100(62%) + 200(61%).