CIS 554 Grading Policy
Fall 2016, David Matuszek


For each language we will cover, there will be one assignment whose purpose is simply to get you started in that language, followed by one to three additional assignments whose purpose is to familiarize you with specific features of that language. Unless indicated otherwise, each assignment will be worth 100 points.

There will be one short quiz on each language except Scala. There will be two or possibly three quizzes on Scala, making a total of 6 to 8 quizzes. Each quiz will be graded on a 10-point basis. There will be no final exam.

Grading will be based 40% on quizzes and 60% on assignments. For those of you with a statistical background: Z-scores will be computed separately for quizzes and for assignments, then the final score will be the weighted average of these Z-scores. At the end of the course I will assign letter grades based on these final scores. There are no pre-set cutoffs for letter grades, but typically more than half the class will receive grades of A- or above.

Depending on class size and unforeseen circumstances (such as snowstorms), class presentations will occupy the last two days of the semester.


In general there will be one assignment each week, due a week after it is assigned. Fall break and Thanksgiving will disrupt this schedule somewhat. Unless indicated otherwise, each assignment will be worth 100 points.

Late penalties

Assignments will be due at midnight of the specified day. For each assignment there will be a six-hour "grace" period; that is, you will be able to turn in your assignment by 6:00:00 AM of the following day, without penalty. Late penalties will be 5 points per day, midnight to midnight.

We will accept assignments for at least 7 days after the due date. After that, once we have graded that particular assignment, we will stop accepting additional late assignments.

The first assignment, and only the first assignment, will have an additional 7-day grace period. This is to accommodate students who join the class late. Since I have no easy way to keep track of when students join, this policy applies to everyone equally. I strongly recommend to everyone that they complete the first assignment as soon as possible.

Late days

Because students often need extra time on assignments because of interviews and other matters, I have a "late day" policy.

You have seven late days, in total, which you can use throughout the semester. For example, if you use two late days on the first assignment, you will have five left over for your remaining assignments. To get these late days, all you have to do is ask; you don't need to provide any excuses, or give any reasons.

Basically, by asking for late days on an assignment, you are asking to have the due date for that assignment extended by that number of days. For example, if you ask for two late days, and turn your assignment three days late, it will be counted as if it were only one day late.

Once you use up your seven late days, that's it--you don't get any more.

To claim late days:

Finally, this isn't totally cast in stone. If you have a serious life-changing event, we may be able to work out some way for you to finish the course.


Quizzes, although generally quite short, are an important part of your final grade. If you must miss a quiz, you can work with me, or (with my approval) with one of the TAs, to try to make up the quiz. This should be done just before or just after the quiz is given in class.

If it isn't feasible to schedule a makeup quiz, it may be possible for me to assign a (small) additional program to replace the quiz. However, this depends on my time and energy. It may be that you will just lose those points.


At the end of the semester, I would like students to give a 5- to 10-minute presentation on a programming language of their choice. This may be done with or without a partner; if done with a partner, both partners must do some of the speaking. The presentation should say what is interesting about the language, and should provide some examples of syntax and semantics. PowerPoint slides will be required.

I must approve your choice of language beforehand.

Attendance at presentations will be mandatory.

The presentation will be counted as if it were an additional 10-point quiz. I expect everyone to earn the full ten points.

As noted earlier, this is tentative, and depends on whether we have time at the end of the semester.