CMSC 601 Grading Guidelines
Your course grade will be based on the weighted average of your work in
the class, as outlined in the syllabus. A weighted score of 90-100
guarantees an A; a score of 80 or above guarantees at least a B; a
score of 70 or above guarantees at least a C; and a score of 60 or above
guarantees at least a D. Actual cutoff scores for each grade will be
determined by the instructor examining the distribution of scores and
identifying reasonable cutoffs. Grades may be curved in the students'
favor (i.e., cutoffs below those listed above), but will not be curved
against the students (i.e., cutoffs higher than those listed above).
Assignment of Grades for Written Work
Written assignments will be graded according to the following distribution:
What this means in practice is that if you do the work, but don't organize
your thoughts or write clearly, you will end with at most a B in
the class. However, I can't give you full credit for content if I can't
understand what you're saying, so if you don't write clearly, you will
probably end up losing points on content as well.
80%: Content (thoroughness of preparation, information, and presentation)
10%: Style (grammar, writing quality, clarity of writing at the sentence
10%: Presentation (organization, clarity of writing at the paper level)
I will grade each assignment either on a 100-point scale or with a letter
grade (where A=95, B=85, C=75, and a + or - is worth +3 or -3 respectively).
Minimal Quality Policy
If a student turns in an assignment that is illegible, or contains a large
number of grammatical or spelling errors, the assignment will be turned
back ungraded. The student will then have two days to rewrite and resubmit
the homework. If this happens once, a 10% penalty will be applied to the
grade for the assignment. The second time, there will be a 20% penalty,
and so on. Why do I have this policy? Because I want to spend my time giving
substantive feedback on the organization and content of your work, not
performing technical editing and trying to make sense of ungrammatical
assignments. I hope not to have to apply this policy at all! You should
spell- and grammar-check all of your work before it is submitted. If you
have trouble with grammar and spelling, particularly if you are not a native
speaker of English, you may want to visit the Writing Center in the library
(a free service for students) or to find a "writing buddy" who is willing
to proofread your work before you turn it in. (As stated in the academic integrity policy below, if you use either of these sources of assistance, you must state this in your assignment.)
As stated in the course syllabus, assignments are due in hardcopy
at the beginning of class (unless otherwise specified), and all
late assignments will be penalized. (0-24 hours late: 25% penalty;
24-48 hours late: 50% penalty; 48-72 hours late: 75% penalty;
more than 72 hours late: no credit.)
Assignments that are to be reviewed by
other students (i.e., the draft literature survey and the draft paper)
will receive zero credit if turned in late.
Extensions of up to one week may be granted if requested well
if a clear and valid explanation for the extension is given (e.g.,
planned conference travel, projects due in other classes).
Exceptions to these policies
will be granted only in the most dire of circumstances.
You may choose a topic for this class that you are also working on for
another class, or for your thesis/dissertation research -- in fact, you
are encouraged to do so! However, several caveats apply:
If you turn in an assignment that overlaps with, or is identical to, an
assignment for another class or for your research, you must
indicate this on the assignment itself. (I also suggest that you let the
other professor know about the overlap.)
The assignments that you turn in for this class must meet the criteria
set out for that assignment. That is, if you're preparing a literature
survey for another class, and using that for this class, the survey must
meet the 601 guidelines for content and form. That may mean preparing
two different versions of an assignment.
If the other class's assignment is a group project, you must come talk
to me about how you will divide the work. All work turned in for this class
must be your own. (You are welcome to work on the same, or a related, topic
as another student, but again, you must come talk to me about how you will
share the work in this case.)
You may not turn in any written work that was prepared for a class
or research project in a prior semester.
As stated in the class syllabus, cheating, including plagiarism, will not
be tolerated. All written work, including paper summaries, must be your
own work. If you wish to quote a source, you must do so explicitly, and
with proper attribution. Any "double dipping" that does not meet the requirements
set out above will be treated as a violation of the academic honesty policy
for the class, and dealt with accordingly.
The minimum penalty for a violation of the academic honesty policy
is a zero on the assignment. Other penalties may include a letter grade
reduction, failing the class, or, in extreme or repeated cases, dismissal
from the program.