Tues, 16 Sept 2014, 04:59

My students,

I need to say something about your first lab grade, and I do so
hesitantly because I do not want to encourage you to waste time
grubbing for points.  On the other hand, I do not want you to be 
penalized unfairly.

Usually, your lab grade reflects fairly your performance on the lab.
We run a large number of test cases, and give you points for those
that give the right answer.  Your lab grade is based on how many 
test cases worked and how many failed.

Unfortunately, sometimes a student makes one silly error that is in
the wrong place so it ends up giving the wrong answer for too many 
test cases even though everything else is working correctly.  I don't
use the word "silly" in a perjorative sense -- for the cases I am
talking about, the student himself/herself will willingly call the 
mistake silly.

So, what to do.  I don't want to unfairly penalize you, and at the
same time I do not want to encourage you to waste your time.

My answer is simple.  If you honestly believe that your low grade
was due to some silly error, then send email to Stephen Pruett with
a simple explanation of the error and how you would fix it.  He will 
get back to you on what to do next.  

If your low grade was due to more than just a silly error, then it 
was probably the correct grade you earned, and you are better advised 
to put it behind you and concentrate on the second lab and the rest 
of the course.  The fact is one low lab grade (especially the first
lab) is not going to kill your chances of an A in the course.  In fact,
I have been known to ignore the first few grades in the course if you
demonstrate mastery from that point on.

Good luck getting the problem set in on Wednesday and the second lab in
next Sunday night.

Yale Patt