Grading Policies


Your grade is composed of the following components:

Percentage Component
5% Online quizzes
30% Homework
15% Midterm Exam 1
15% Midterm Exam 2
15% Midterm Exam 3
20% Final

Grading Scale

All your grade components will be added up with the percentage weights indicated and result in a single number. This number will determine your letter grade, according to the following scales:

Grade Undergrad Range Grad Range
A [85, 100) [90, 100)
B [72, 85) [80, 90)
C [60, 72) [70, 80)
D [50, 60) [60, 70)

If you are signed up for the four-credit-hour section, a larger project assignment will be posted about halfway through the class and will count for two homework sets and factor into your homework grade correspondingly, diminishing the weight of the other homework.


CS 450 is, unfortunately, too popular for its own good, leading to annoyances like waitlists and sections with controlled access.

Some of you have asked to take part in class activities despite not being officially registered for the class, and I am usually happy to make this possible. If you choose to make use of this, you will be held to the same standard as every other student that is officially registered for the class, and, at the discretion of the instructor, work you do as part of this 'unofficial' participation may be eligible for class credit if you later become officially registered.

However, please keep the following two things in mind:

  1. While it is quite likely that spots will open up as the semester continues, I am unable to promise that this will happen.

  2. As long as you are not officially signed up (check with the academic office in 1210 Siebel if you're not sure), you will not receive university credit for the work you are doing.

In particular being "enrolled" in the course on this site has no administrative significance to the university. What matters is enrollment as shown in the UIUC self-service application.

Online quizzes

There will be a small amount of pre-class material along with a short quiz before each class. All these quizzes (also the one on grading policies!) contribute a small amount to your grade.

These rules apply to the quizzes, unless otherwise stated:

If you're thinking of violating these rules, consider the following: The grade contribution of the quizzes is small enough and there are enough quizzes that messing up (even badly!) on a few will not have a measurable effect on your grade.


There will be generally weekly longer-form homework sets over the course of the semester. One of these sets will be due every week except for exam weeks, as shown in the class calendar.

Homework will typically come out during the day on Wednesdays and be due late at night the following Wednesday, around midnight. Each homework set will typically consist of a combination of coding and written responses.

The grading policy is set up so that you can mess up on the homework quite badly without a drastic impact on your grade. The homework is *intended* as a learning experience, so making mistakes is OK.


You get exactly one submission per homework set. In particular, this means that:

Late homework

Homework submitted after the deadline will count for half of its original worth. This offer is good for up to one week after the original deadline. After that, no late work will be accepted.

Solutions to the homework sets will be posted after the due date. If you are submitting homework for the half-credit due date, feel free to use the posted solutions in writing up your own solution. You may however not directly copy the sample solution. What you submit must still be written by you, not just copied.

Collaboration on Homework


There will be four exams: Three midterms and a final. The exams will take place in a computer-based testing facility ("CBTF") in DCL. The exam will be offered over a period of a few days. Each student must schedule a 1 hour block within that time span in which to take the exam. You will need to schedule your exam using a self-service web site provided by the facility. Instructions will be given in the class calendar. One class period will be cancelled during exam periods to ensure that you have time to go and take the exam.

All exams are cumulative.

Missing exams

All students will take exams as scheduled with the CBTF, and only on that day and time. There will be no exceptions to this policy except in cases of severe emergency (e.g., loss of life or limb). Examples of events that do not qualify as emergencies include (but are not limited to): transportation problems, conflict with work schedule, important family vacation, or computer problems. For exam security reasons, students may not enter an exam after its start time. Students who arrive after their exam start time will only be accommodated if CBTF capacity and policies allow. In all other cases, a grade of zero will be assigned for the exam.

Make-up exams are not allowed without proper documentation as described above or for university-approved activities. Make-up exams are not allowed for any type of unexcused absences, including missing class to study for a test, oversleeping, not being ready to take the exam, or having to work at an outside job.

For any type of foreseeable absence, documentation must be received at least one week before the exam to be acceptable, at which point the instructor will determine whether a make-up exam will be allowed. For health-related or other absence because of an emergency, the instructor must be notified at least two hours prior to the exam to receive consideration for a make-up exam, but preferably as early as possible. An hour before the exam at the latest, the instructor will provide guidance on whether a make-up exam will be allowed.

A grade of zero will automatically be assigned for any absence not explicitly allowed by this policy.

No aids other than pencil and paper are allowed in exams. In particular:

  • If you are seen near a phone, MP3 player or other digital device (turned on or not--it does not matter) during an exam, you will receive a grade of zero for the exam.

Conflict exams

Since we allow you to take the exam at the exam center over a period of a few days, conflict exams will generally not be provided.


Please let me (Andreas) know as soon as you can if you need special accommodations (extra time etc.) on exams. Thanks! Send accommodations email now »

Student responsibilities

Please read and understand the UIUC student code (link opens PDF).

In particular, make sure to read and understand Paragraph §1‑402. The rules there along with the rules in this tutorial form the foundation for making sure you and everyone else in the class receive a fair, transparent grade.