Class policies

There will be 3 hour tests in the course. Each hour test is worth 100 points. Grades for quizzes will be weighted at the end of the semester on a scale of 0 to 100. The final exam is two and a half hours long and is worth 200 points. Attendance counts somewhat for your grade, with anything over 4 absences penalized, but cannot take you lower than one grade (A to B+, B+ to B, etc.). If you have fewer than 4 absences, that can pull your grade up in borderline cases.

Quizzes will be given frequently. They will be very similar to problems (often just one problem) from among the practice problems, or from problems worked in class. They are generally announced in advance, but there may also be one or two "pop quizzes" during the semester.

Years of experience have taught me that there is no perfect way to handle absences for tests and quizzes. The following system seems to be as good as any. Please do not ask for exceptions from it! If I were to grant them, I would merely be moving to another imperfect system, usually inferior to the one described below.

I will not "drop the lowest test grade", nor give make-up tests. If you are absent for a test, please give one of us a note explaining why, and for you the questions on the final exam that correspond to the material covered by the test you missed will be used to compute your grade for that test. (Thus these questions are counted twice, but with different point values: if the questions on the final exam that serve for your test grade have a total value of 50 points as far as the final exam is concerned, they will each count double for the test grade.)

I will drop the lowest quiz grade, but no more. The only exception is for people who will frequently be absent for legitimate reasons (varsity sport, etc.). In that case I will ignore zeroes due to absences for these reasons. If you fall into this category, let me know at the beginning of the semester. I will tell you far enough in advance of your scheduled absence what homework is due while you are gone, so that you will be able to have it handed in for you in time.

To allow for other kinds of absences, etc., extra credit problems will be listed from time to time, and the grading scale for the quiz grade will be at least this lenient:
85 and up A
78 - 84 B+
70 - 77 B
63 - 69 C+
55 - 62 C
48 - 54 D+
40 - 47 D

Grading scales on the tests will be somewhat closer to the usual "90 - 100 A, etc." scale, but will vary according to the difficulty of the tests.

I am generous with partial credit, so show all your work on quizzes and tests.

I am the only person to ask for help on extra credit problems. Penalties will be assessed in case of clear violations.

Since the grading scales on tests, exam, and weighted quiz scores vary, letter grades for the overall course will be determined by comparing each student's total points with the totals at the cutoff for each letter grade.
The example illustrated here, which includes scores similar to those obtained by two students in an earlier course, illustrates the grading method.