CS150 Course Grading and Late Work Policies

In this document you will learn about the grading system and late work policies for this class. You’ll first learn about the grading system in general and my reasons for using this system, and then learn the specifics regarding homework and tests. At the end of the document there is a table which shows how your grade is converted from a percentage to the 0.0 – 4.0 grade scale.

Grading System Background

One of the great things I loved about getting out of college and working was the de-emphasis on grades. As you know college is all about grades, and I think there are a lot of people in academia who put an unreasonable amount of emphasis on tests and grades at the expense of actual learning. I see this trait a lot in instructors who have never had a job in the real world.

In any case, even though I got my B.S. in 1983 (yes, they had computers and colleges a hundred years ago LOL) I can still remember how refreshing it was to just work and not have to cram for tests or stay up late writing papers. At my first programming job, I still spent a good portion of my work time learning new things on my own, but my employer didn’t care about grades, they only cared that I could do the work. I was able to measure my own learning progress; if I knew enough I did the work but if I needed to learn more I did more research. It was great feedback, and a great model for how I think all education should be. But even though I wish this class could be more like the real world and not bother with grades and tests, this is college and I’m contractually obligated to provide all students with a grade.

General Notes on Grades and Grading

In this class you’ll earn points towards your grade by completing homework assignments and taking tests. The homework is worth 20% of your grade with the tests making up the remaining 80%. You are not graded on attendance, class participation, weight, 100 meter dash time, or the size of your bank account; just the homework and tests.

The grading system is objective with a fixed number of points; which means everyone can get a 4.0. (As opposed to grading on a curve, where you must compete with your fellow students for points and only a limited number of students receive higher grades. Most of my undergrad classes were graded on curves, and boy was that terrible. Especially since it seemed like there was always a handful of students repeating the class, so they had an advantage over everyone else.)


In this class you will have homework with every module. The homework consists of hands-on projects and writing assignments. It can be a little confusing when you first start the class as the book calls anything requiring you to do hands-on work a “Hands-On Project”, while writing assignments are referred to as “Projects”. The basic information regarding each homework assignment can be found in each Canvas Module. But the really good tips will be in the lecture notes or videos that I’ve created for you.

This extra information will help you complete the steps in each assignment, as many of the tools and sites they have you use have changed since the book was published. In addition, the material I’ve prepared provides additional background information, and explains what it is you’re actually doing in most assignments as it’s not always clear. The background information will provide you with a better understanding of what you’re doing so you’re not just blindly following the instructions in the book and clicking where they tell you to click.

And since this class is an overview, you’ll eventually learn much more about everything you do in the hands-on exercises. In later classes you’ll be using the same tools, or similar tools to do the same thing, but it will make much more sense when you have the time to concentrate on each subject.

Here are the details regarding the homework grade:

  1. Each of the assignments is worth 10 points. The only exception is the quiz over the Introduction Material, which is worth 9 points. All of the homework is worth 20% of the class total.
  2. Your first graded homework will be the quiz at the end of the Introduction Module. This is the only quiz that’s part of your homework. It’s purpose is to make sure you understand the class policies and to ensure that you’re starting the class in a timely manner, and not procrastinating. The Introduction Quiz must be completed by 11:59 PM on the due date to receive full credit. You can complete it up to 7 calendar days late and still receive partial credit. After 7 days you will receive 0 points.
  3. The Introduction Quiz is the only mandatory homework item. That is, you must complete this quiz before moving on to the next module. The reason for this is that the Introduction Quiz acts like contract or EULA (End User License Agreement) for this class. By completing the quiz you verify that you understand and agree to the policies for this class. If you fail to submit any of other homework assignments you can still proceed with the class, but you must complete the Introduction Quiz before proceeding. Of course, failing to complete a homework assignment will have a detrimental impact on your overall grade.
  4. Each Canvas Module has homework assignments from the book, which will be hands-on projects or writing assignments. For many of the modules you will do both a hands-on projects and a writing projects. You don’t have to do every hands-on project or writing project in the book, so pay close attention when you’re reading the homework descriptions. Every homework assignment is worth 10 points each towards your homework total.
  5. Please note that it can be a little confusing when you first start the class as the book calls anything requiring you to do hands-on work a “Hands-On Project”, while writing assignments are referred to as “Projects”. Even though the names are very similar they are different things.
  6. Some of the homework consists of hands-on projects. To show that you’ve completed the project you will be required to make screen shots at different points in the project and submit the screen shot(s). You can use the Windows Snipping Tool to easily make a screenshot and copy it into a document. If you don’t know how to make a screenshot or add the resulting image to a word document you can use these resources or do your own Internet research. Please note that if you use a camera to take a picture of the screen you will have to redo the work and resubmit your work to receive credit.
  1. To receive credit for the hands-on projects you must complete the entire project; no partial credit will be granted. That is, if you leave out screenshots or fail to answer any of the required questions you will not receive any points.
  2. Some of the homework requires you to do some research and then write a paper or create a table summarizing your findings. As the name suggests, the Written Assignment Guidelines  document provides tips on creating your documents, and explains how your written assignments will be graded. You should read this carefully before beginning the first writing assignment.
  3. You can work with other students on the hands-on projects, but you must do your own work on any writing assignments. In other words, if 2 or more students turn in the same paper then it will be considered a violation of the CBC Academic Honesty Policy and none of the students will receive credit.
  4. CBC uses a system called TurnItIn, which checks your papers against other student submissions and against other material on the Internet. TurnItIn produces a score which shows how much of any paper is identical to other papers. A score of 0% means that your paper is totally original while a score of 100% means that your entire paper is identical to other sources. Your paper will not be graded if the TurnItIn score is 30% or higher. After you submit a paper you can the TurnItIn score yourself. If it’s higher than 30% you can make changes and resubmit. This often happens when your paper is very short, as the references will most likely be the same as other papers that Turn-It-In checks.
  5. Late Homework Policy – You will submit all homework, except the Introduction Quiz, by uploading it through Canvas. Homework must be completed by 11:59 PM on the due date to receive full credit. Homework can be turned in up to 7 calendar days late, but there will be an automatic 3 point deduction. After 7 days the assignment will receive 0 points.
  6. The homework assignments are all available at the beginning of class, so you can work ahead of schedule if you choose. However, most assignments will not be graded until the due date or soon after.
  7. Late Homework Policy for the last week of the quarter – The exception to the late homework policy is for the last Module. All homework for this Module must be completed by 11:59 PM on the due date, which is typically the last regular class day for the quarter. The reason for this work must be completed on time and can’t be turned in late is I am given very little time to calculate and turn in grades. So … everything needs to be done by the last day of regular classes for the quarter so I can calculate your grades and get them entered into the college’s computer system. Note that this is typically the last day of regular classes, NOT the last day of finals. This means that the last section of homework must be completed by the due date to receive any credit. Work completed after the due date will not be accepted or graded.
  8. There are two ways to look at your points for homework and it’s impact on your overall class grade. The first is if you don’t do any homework then the best grade you can earn for the class is 80%, assuming you score 100 points on all of the tests. The second way to look at homework is that you have to do it, and do a good job, if you want to get a 4.0 in the class.


The majority of your grade in this class will be determined by your test scores. Here are the details regarding tests:

  1. There are 4 tests for the class, but the 4th test is optional. That is, you only need to take 3 of the 4 tests to get all of the possible test points.
  2. Each test is worth 33% or one third of your overall test score.
  3. Even though the first three tests are worth 40 points and the last test in worth 65 points, they all still count the same towards your overall score. That is, taking the fourth test will not provide a better overall test score than taking any of the first three tests.
  4. Each test can be taken 1 time only.
  5. The tests are timed. That is, you only have 60 minutes to complete tests 1-3, and 120 minutes to complete test 4. The timer begins when you start the test, so please be prepared.
  6. Late Test Policy – Tests must be completed by 11:59 PM on the due date. Late tests will not be accepted or graded. Note that you must be completely finished by this 11:59 PM. If you are working on a test when 11:59 PM arrives Canvas will close your test and lock you out. So plan accordingly and give yourself plenty of time. (Note that this is not like other online systems such as Blackboard or Angel. In those system you only have to start the test by the due date/time. If you are in the test when the due time arrives those system allow you to continue to work until you either finish or lose your network connection.)
  7. Tests are open and available at the beginning of class, so you can work ahead of schedule if you choose.
  8. There is NO final exam for this class.
  9. If for some reason you miss a test, there is a makeup test you can take at the end of the quarter, the fourth test. This test is comprehensive so it covers more material than the first 3 tests, which makes it more difficult than the first three in some sense.
  10. Even if you have taken the first three tests you can use Test 4 to try and replace a lower test score and improve your grade. Canvas automatically uses the 3 highest percentages from the 4 tests to calculate your overall test grade.
  11. There are plenty of things you can and should do to prepare for the tests. These include the obvious like completing the reading and homework assignments and doing the review questions at the end of each chapter. In addition, you can take Practice Tests before taking the real test. You can take the practice tests as many times as you want. You will get 15 random questions each time you take the test. The practice tests are not graded so you can take them as often as you like.
  12. The test questions are generally in the form of True/False, multiple choice, matching or short answer. On the short answer questions you must type exactly what I’ve set as the correct answer for Canvas to automatically give you credit. In many cases it is nearly impossible for me to enter all of the various phrases, uses of capitalization or misspelled words. For example, if the I load “columbia basin college” and “CBC” as the correct answers to a question and you enter “cbc” Canvas will mark your answer as incorrect. When you finish your test you can see the questions that were marked incorrect along with the correct answer(s). If you feel that your answer is correct and Canvas marked your answer incorrect because you fat fingered the answer or used the incorrect case, just send me an email and I will manually check it for you. Make sure and email me because it’s quite possible that your answer is correct, it’s just not in the list I provided Canvas.
  13. You can work with other students practicing for tests, but you must do your own work on the actual tests. If you collaborate with other students, or copy from another student on the actual tests you will receive a letter stating that you have violated CBC’s Academic Honesty Policy, and that you have flunked the class. I don’t try to figure out who may have done the real work and who is copying, everyone involved flunks. In addition to the academic consequence there may be administrative consequences, however these are out of my jurisdiction. You will also be referred to the CBC Dean of Student Services, where your administrative consequences are decided. The Dean of Student Services will decide whether to allow you to remain enrolled at CBC or not. So please do your own work, as we have several systems in place to detect cheating and copying, and they work surprisingly well. If someone asks to copy your work, don’t let them as it may have negative consequences for you as well.

Grading Rubrics

The following rubrics provide a quick summary of the grading scheme used in this class.

CS150 Homework and Tests grading rubrics

Converting From Percentage to the 4.0 Scale

For some reason colleges in the State of Washington still use the old, broken down, weird 4.0 scale, instead of something that makes sense like 0.0 to 100.0. At least we don’t still hand out A’s and B’s or smiley faces and stars. Your grade will be converted from a percentage to the 4.0 scale as shown the following table:

4.0100 %to 95.0%
3.9< 95.0 %to 94.0%
3.8< 94.0 %to 93.0%
3.7< 93.0 %to 92.0%
3.6< 92.0 %to 91.0%
3.5< 91.0 %to 90.0%
3.4< 90.0 %to 89.0%
3.3< 89.0 %to 88.0%
3.2< 88.0 %to 87.0%
3.1< 87.0 %to 86.0%
3.0< 86.0 %to 85.0%
2.9< 85.0 %to 84.0%
2.8< 84.0 %to 83.0%
2.7< 83.0 %to 82.0%
2.6< 82.0 %to 81.0%
2.5< 81.0 %to 80.0%
2.4< 80.0 %to 79.0%
2.3< 79.0 %to 78.0%
2.2< 78.0 %to 77.0%
2.1< 77.0 %to 76.0%
2.0< 76.0 %to 75.0%
1.9< 75.0 %to 74.0%
1.8< 74.0 %to 73.0%
1.7< 73.0 %to 72.0%
1.6< 72.0 %to 71.0%
1.5< 71.0 %to 70.0%
1.4< 70.0 %to 69.0%
1.3< 69.0 %to 68.0%
1.2< 68.0 %to 67.0%
1.1< 67.0 %to 66.0%
1< 66.0 %to 65.0%
0< 65.0 %to 0.0%

If you want to know your current grade in the class you can do the conversion yourself if you like the math. If not, look at the bottom of the Canvas Grades page and it should be done for you.