Tues, 24th Oct 2017, 01:17 some comments on the first midterm

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My students,

A couple of things I need to tell you about the first midterm.

First, your grade on problem 5 might be confusing, so I will explain.
A significant number of you did not realize that if you hit the Run
button after the computer has stopped due to a breakpoint, execution
will resume at the point of the breakpoint.  That is, the breakpoint
causes the computer to stop the first time the PC contains the address
set by the breakpoint.  Therefore, when you hit the Run button, the
instruction fetched is the instruction in memory at the address contained
in the PC.

Many of you assumed the Run button would start running the program again
from the beginning.  The TAs explained to you what happens when they
demonstrated how the Simulator worked, but since I did not say anything
about it in class, and many of you did not set breakpoints in debugging
your program, or at least did not hit the Run button right after that,
I felt you should not be expected to know what happens when you hit Run
after the computer stops due to a breakpoint.  Now you know it, so it is
fair game for the second midterm!

Meanwhile, I decided to not penalize you on problem 5, where 10 points were
at stake.  What I did was look at your solutions to part a and part b, and
gave you a grade for that problem as follows:

Part a was worth 15 points.  Let A be your score (out of 15) on part a.
Part b was worth 10 points.  Let B be your score (out of 10) on part b.

I computed A+B, which is the number crossed out on many papers.
Then I assumed there was no part b and made part a worth 25 points,
and computed 1.66(A).

I assigned the higher of those two values as your grade.

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Second item.  Although my TAs and I are very careful about the grading,
we are not perfect.  So, it is certainly possible we made some mistakes.
If you think you were graded incorrectly, I want you to do the following:

Show the problem(s) you feel was (were) graded incorrectly to one of my TAs.
He/she will look at your solution and either agree with you or not.  If he
agrees with you, he will take the exam and discuss it with me, and I will
regrade it if I feel we made an error in grading.  If he does not agree with
you, he will explain why the grading was done correctly.  If you now agree,
the matter is resolved.  If you still do not agree, you can tell the TA
to bring it to my attention.  I will look at the problem again, and regrade
it according to its merits.

Please bring the exam to a TA.  He/she will bring it to my attention if you
wish, whether or not he/she agrees with you.  I have found that doing things
this way enables me to deal with grading errors effectively, while allowing
my TAs to explain most cases where there was no grading error.

Now, on to data structures and subroutines on Wednesday!

See you in class.

Yale Patt

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