Grading Scheme

Grading scheme may change up to the end of the first week of classes (Sep 15), as may the dates of the midterms.

See the onQ site for details on the requirements for individual elements of the grading scheme. This grading scheme presumes you pass the tests; see the comment on tests for the alternative grading scheme. Do not trust the OnQ estimate of your final grade, since it cannot handle some aspects of the grading scheme; my spreadsheet is the ultimate truth.
ItemWeightWhen Due
Readings Questionnaires 05% See onQ site
Regular Assignments (4) 13% See onQ site
In-Class Exercises 07% Irregularly throughout term
Midterm 1 07% Week 4 (Oct 4)
Midterm 2 07% Week 8 (Oct 30)
Midterm 3 07% Week 11 (Nov 20)
Group Project 27% total See OnQ site.
    Phase 1 document     05%
    Phase 4 document     09%
    Phase 4 software     10%
    Presentation     03%
Final Exam 27% TBA
The final exam period is December 7-22. Plan to be in Kingston for the entire period, in case the exam is late or needs to be rescheduled because of a disruption, or you miss the final for short-term documented reasons beyond your control and can justify a make-up. If we can't reschedule a missed exam during this period, your choice in the winter term will be extremely limited because I will be on sabbatical.

Setting Personal Deadlines

A deadline is a deadline. Personal time management is an important skill in this course. When you see a deadline for an assignment, set your own personal deadline at least a few days in advance to make sure you can meet the published deadline. For example, most of the readings are available in the first week of term, and you can do a first pass on all of them (which is enough to answer the questionnaires) long in advance of the deadlines.

For the regular assignments there is a 1-day grace period, but using it gives a 10% penalty (multiplying your grade by 0.9). Missing the grace period gets a zero. The deadlines are enforced by OnQ; even one second late incurs the penalty. The OnQ time will be taken as definitive, even if it differs from your own clock. Emailing work to the instructor is unacceptable.

Some term work, such as in-class exercises and questionnaires on the readings, have no grace period.

The group project will overlap with most of the other term work. There is no grace period for the group deliverables.

Assigned Readings

Throughout the term there will be reading assignments, and associated questionnares about them, to be completed before specific dates. Some readings will be from the course reader; others will be distributed on the OnQ site. Questionnaires ensure you've done the readings and let me know what specific topics you want covered in more depth in class. This lets us avoid wasting class time on material everyone understood, so we can focus on where people had difficulties or where they wanted to know more about something they found interesting.

Questionnaires will be brief, and any reasonable attempt at answering all the questions will get full marks.

Since the deadlines are set long in advance, and the answers are needed in order to compose the lectures, there will be no extensions on the questionnaires for any reason. You may miss one questionnaire during the term without penalty and without needing any documentation.

Each questionnaire will include a question similar to:

What one specific topic would you like to cover in more depth during the class sessions?
The topic can be something you found confusing or something you found interesting. Please be as specific as possible. "Class diagrams" is too general and vague; it may be asking to substitute a lecture for a proper study of the reading. More suitable are questions like "How do I represent a Person who inherits from both Student and Staff classes?" and "Where do I put methods that take parameters of multiple classes?"

Be sure to read any descriptions accompanying the reading on the OnQ site; they may sometimes give guidelines for which sections of the reading to concentrate on and which to skim.

Note that the deadlines are for the questionaires. It would be wise to finish the readings well before the associated deadlines, particularly since you can start some phases of the group term project earlier if you've done certain readings early. They are of varying degrees of difficulty, and some may take longer to master than the time since the last reading.

Regular Assignments

There will be four regular assignments during the term; handouts and deadlines will be on the OnQ site. The first assignment will be a review of prerequisite material worth 1% and due in the second week of classes.

There is a 1-day grace period on the deadlines for these assignments, but using it will incur a 10% penalty (multiply percentage grade by 0.9).

In-Class Exercises

The reasons for group work (the exercises and group project) are discussed in the learning outcomes.

Students are expected to attend all classes as stated in academic regulation 6.1. There will be a set of in-class exercises at irregular times during the term, announced no later than the end of the previous class (some will be announced longer in advance, such as the one on the third day of class). You may miss one exercise without penalty and without documentation.

The format of many of the exercises will be a question to be answered individually, followed by preparation of a group poster of a collective answer. Groups will be ad-hoc; they need not be the same for each exercise, nor need they have any relation to your group project. Any reasonable attempt at an answer will get 4/5 or better; I intend to give 5/5 in most cases.

There may or may not be other formats for some exercises.

Midterms and Final Exam

For term work to count in the grading scheme, you must achieve 60% or more on the subset of the grading scheme consisting of the four tests: three midterms and the final exam. If you do not succeed on this portion of the grading scheme, your final grade for the course will be the grade on the tests. To compute this grade, I will multiply your grades on each of the tests by the corresponding weights above, and divide by the total of their weights; the resulting number must be 60% or greater.

Term work is assignments, in class exercises, questionnaires, and group work -- everything except the tests.

There will be no make-up midterms for any reason. If you miss a single midterm for plausible reasons (which don't include things like "I overslept" or "I planned a vacation for that day"), you don't need documentation. Your grade will be estimated so as to place you in the same relative position in the class as you achieve on the other midterms and the final. Thus if you miss midterm 1, and come in third on the combination of midterms 2, 3, and the final, your midterm 1 grade will be halfway between the second and third position grades of the other students on midterm 1. This method compensates for the unavoidable fact that different tests may have different levels of difficulty.

Missing a second or third midterm requires documentation for all missed tests in order to avoid a zero on the ones for which there is insufficient justification.

Group Project

The reasons for group work (the exercises and group project) are discussed in the learning outcomes.

In the third week of class (after the add/drop period) we will form groups of 3 people; if groups don't work out evenly I will shuffle the groups to get 3-4 per group.

The project description will be on the OnQ site. It consists of several phases, which you are wise to carry out as soon as you've mastered the relevant material. The first phase can be started immediately. Others depend only on prerequisite material and the readings, so can be done well in advance of covering the material in class if you understand the readings.

In the first two lectures of the last week of classes, groups will present their working software. I will assign group presentation times randomly. All team members are expected to contribute equally. You will be judged primarily on presentation skills, according to a questionnaire distributed to the audience. The combination of the limited class size and the required group size means there will be 7-8 groups, so each group will get 10 minutes including setup time. It would be wise to practice your demo in the classroom in advance of your presentation date.

All students are expected to attend all presentations; there will be a 1% deduction from your final grade for missing a presentation.

You will fill out peer evaluation forms where you rate each team member (including yourself) on contribution to each deliverable. All peer evaluations will be confidential, but I encourage you to discuss work-sharing among yourselves during the term.

Letters and Numbers

Each deliverable will be letter-graded, converted to percentages according to the following table, modified by any appropriate penalties, combined according to the weights given above, modified by a set of possible bonuses or penalties, and the final total converted to letter grades according to the University's standard table:
Numeric RangeLetterNumberDescription
77-79B+78Very Good
70-72B-72Reasonably Good
63-66C65Minimally Acceptable (Honours)
60-62C-62Minimally Acceptable (General)
57-59D+58Unsatisfactory Pass
49 and belowF0Failure - No Course Credit
Descriptions are taken from the 2017-18 version of Regulation 10.1 of the Faculty of Arts and Science Academic Regulations, which also has longer rubrics for what each short description means. In particular, the descriptions for all the grades in the "B- to B+" range include the word "good", and the rubric for "B" specifically says "meets expectations of the course."

The two standard penalties for each assignment are

In addition there is a 1% penalty on your overall grade for missing any project presentation in the last week of classes, and your marks on group deliverables may be modified by peer evaluations.

Questions? Contact the instructor.
This page last modified