CS 5084: Introduction to Algorithms

Grading Policy

The grading in this course is largely based on short in-class tests and a final exam.

Tests (60%) and final exam (30%)

Every other week, that is on weeks 2--4--6--8--10--12, you will write a short (40--45 minutes) closed-book test, based on the last two weeks' material. On week 14 a short comprehensive final exam is to be given.
The tests have similar weight in the final grade, but they are biased, so that higher weight is given to later tests, to help those of you who take longer to adjust to the heavy time-demands of the course. The change in weight is gradual and linear, with the last test being 75% `heavier' than the first.
Your poorest (after the weight is adjusted) test will not be counted in your final grade.

While I expect you will rarely need it, here is a page of formulas that you may bring with you to the tests. If you think additional formulas or facts should be on this sheet, please suggest them to me. The page is actually double sided, and sparse, and you may add on it, in your hand, whatever you wish.

Participation (10%)

Participation is of two kinds: one is standard, taking part during class time, by making comments, asking questions which help---almost always---both the other students and me (it shows me what creates difficulties, where my notes and explanations were inadequate).

The other form of participation refers to your telling me, possibly in or out of class, or by email, about errors of any kind you find in the materials I post or presented in class. The first to report a mistake, an error, a typo, any kind, earns points in a "bonus" file I maintain.
The number of points depends on the mistake: it is one point for a typo, or grammatical blooper, and can get to 4 or 5 for a bad, wrong claim I make. You want your name to get in that bonus file often... [If you find it strange that I ask you to tell me I was wrong in something --- get used to it; I am that kind of a guy.]

(Un)fortunately, I can promise that mistakes are there for you to discover. And I do not feel ashamed of it: one of the greats of CS dealing with algorithms, Donald E. Knuth, said in one of his lectures describing his work on the series The Art of Computer Programming books, that he "strove mightily to produce a clean text", clear of any errors. And yet, he tells, readers reported many thousands of mistakes... Many thousands! --- and I am no Knuth.


Notes on calculation of final grades

  • The poorest test grade is dropped from calculation.
  • You cannot pass the course without getting a passing grade (55%) on your final.
  • To get an A you must get a high grade on the Participation component.