CMSC 601 Grading Guidelines
Spring 2012

Course Grades

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.

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.)

Late Policy

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 in advance, 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.

Double Dipping

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:

Academic Integrity

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.