Grading, Lateness, and Extensions

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1) 6.01 Grade Components

Our goal in assigning a final grade for 6.01 is to balance learning opportunities with the need for assessment. Our strategy is to use two midterms and a final exam as the primary assessment tools, and to use the homework exercises and software and design labs primarily as learning opportunities, and as a way for you to gauge your own progress.

1.1) Exam Grade

Each of your exams will be given a letter grade according to MIT's definitions of letter grades, as well as a numerical score on a "GPA" scale, a real number in the range [0, 5.5]:

  • A: 5.5 \geq x \geq 4.5
  • B: 4.5 > x \geq 3.5
  • C: 3.5 > x \geq 2.5
  • D: 2.5 > x \geq 1.5
  • F: 1.5 > x \geq 0

Note that this grade is not your raw percentage multiplied by 5.5; rather, it is based on the instructors' assessment of your performance according to MIT's definitions of letter grades.

1.1.1) Midterm Exams

Midterm exams will be given in the evening (7:30-9:30pm). Exam dates are shown on the calendar page. The exams will cover all materials contained in lectures, online tutor problems, nanoquizzes, software labs, and design labs up to the date of the exam (including material covered on previous exams).

If you must miss an exam because of a direct conflict with an MIT class or MIT extracurricular activity, please contact your section instructor, and we will figure out a plan for making up the exam. Other than direct conflicts with other MIT classes and MIT extracurricular activities, alternative arrangements for exams will only be made for personal or medical issues, with written support from Student Support Services.

1.1.2) Final Exam

A three-hour final exam will be given during the Final Examination Period at the end of the semester. The final exam will be comprehensive across all materials in this subject; however, materials since the midterms will be weighted more heavily. The final exam will be scheduled by MIT's Registrar's Office. Conflicts with the scheduled time must be resolved by scheduling a conflict examination with MIT's Registrar's Office.

1.2) Nanoquizzes

A short (15-minute) online nanoquiz will be given at the beginning of each design lab session. Nanoquizzes will generally contain questions from recent materials presented in the lectures, readings, and online tutor problems. The purpose of these nanoquizzes is to provide motivation to stay on schedule, and we expect that students should be able to complete most questions on each nanoquiz. If you are having trouble with the nanoquizzes, that may be an indication that you should talk with a staff member.

The nanoquizzes can only be accessed online during the first 15 minutes of your design lab session in 34-501, and you will be prevented from submitting answers after the timer expires. Contact one of your lab instructors if you must miss a nanoquiz because of illness or other extraordinary situation (excused by an S^3 Dean). Participation in sports, music, interviews, projects, or extracurricular activities will not be grounds for any special excuses. You must be present in the 6.01 lab to receive credit for nanoquizzes.

Nanoquizzes will be graded on the same scale as that described in subsection 1.1. Your lowest two nanoquiz scores will be waived before computing your overall grade.

1.3) Lab and Exercise Completion Grades

You will also be given three other grades on the same scale, based on your completion of the homework exercises and the software and design labs. We expect that students should be able to arrive at the correct answer to these questions after some work, and so online questions will be considered completed if you arrived at a correct answer, regardless of the number of submissions you used.

These completion grades will be converted to a GPA-scale grade as described above, on the following scale:

  • A: \gt 95\% completion
  • B: \gt 90\% completion
  • C: \gt 80\% completion
  • D: \gt 70\% completion
  • F: \lt 70\% completion

2) Overall Grade

Your overall grade in 6.01 will be the weighted average of the following component grades:

  • Homework Completion: 5%
  • Software Lab Completion: 5%
  • Design Lab Completion: 10%
  • Nanoquizzes: 5%
  • Midterm 1: 15%
  • Midterm 2: 25%
  • Final Exam: 35%

This average will be a number in the range [0, 5.5], which will then be converted back into a letter grade using the same conversion as described in section subsection 1.1.

2.1) Design Lab Completion

We believe strongly that there are some transferable skills that can be learned from 6.01 that go beyond the specific content covered in the course, and that many of these skills can be developed through successful completion of the Design Labs. Thus, for every design lab you have not fully completed at the end of the semester, 0.5 GPA points will be subtracted from your overall average (a penalty of half a letter grade for every design lab you do not complete).

3) Lateness

We want to encourage you to complete all of the exercises and to keep up with the pace of the course, but we don't want you to worry too much about deadlines. If the time comes when you have to make a decision between rushing to complete the last bit of an assignment before the deadline, or taking a break and coming back to it earnestly, we want you to do the latter.

Due dates for online exercises and checkoffs are posted on the web site. The GPA-scaled grades for late submissions will be multiplied by a lateness penalty, which is applied to each question or checkoff independently (questions and checkoffs that were completed on time will not be penalized, even if other parts of the same lab or exercise were completed late).

The lateness penalty is is calculated from n, the number of days late:

P = max(0, min(1, 1 - n / 10))

as shown below:

0 1.0 1 0.9 2 0.8 3 0.7 4 0.6 5 0.5 6 0.4 7 0.3 8 0.2 9 0.1 10 0.0 n (days) P(n)

The lateness multiplier for late assignments decreases linearly from 1.0 at 0 minutes late to 0.0 at 14 days late. Assignments completed more than 2 weeks after the due date will not receive credit. For lab checkoffs, the completion of which requires your presence in the lab, only times during office hours will count toward this penalty.

The following table shows some examples:

Submitted Max Grade Received
on time 5.5 (A)
1 hour late 5.48 (A)
8 hours late 5.32 (A)
24 hours late 4.95 (A)
3 days late 3.85 (B)
1 week late 1.65 (D)

If you have any questions about this policy or its impact on your grade, please send an e-mail to Adam (hartz@mit.edu).

4) Extensions

To help you manage your obligations, each student will be given two automatic one-week extensions. Each of these extensions applies to all of the assigments that are due in a given calendar week (typically, a software lab, design lab, and exercises). The extensions are automatic: they are granted by an algorithm that is run at the end of the semester. The algorithm applies the extension to the two weeks that minimize your loss of credit due to lateness.

You may use your two automatic one-week extensions for sports, music, inteviews, projects, or any other reason. You do not have to ask for the automatic extensions to be applied.

If you are experiencing personal or medical difficulties that prevent you from completing some of the work in 6.01, please talk with a dean at Student Support Services, and, with their support, we can offer additional extensions or alternative arrangements. Without written support from Student Support Services, we cannot offer any exceptions to the rules outlined on this page.