CS5430: System Security - Post CVD: Revised Assessment Criteria

We all are working in very changed circumstances. Not everyone has a high-bandwidth Internet connection, a quiet environment that promotes study, and the feelings of security prerequisite for mental clarity. So it seems both prudent and fair to change expectations about homework as well as the way that final course grades will be computed this semester in CS5430.

Here is a summary of changes; the remainder of this web page gives details.

New Scheme for Determining CS5430 Final Grades

As had always been the intent, final grades for CS5430 this semester will not be curved (nor have they been curved in my prior offerings of this class). Your CS5430 grade will be based on your mastery of material, as indicated by grades on submitted homework assignments. Evidence of a good faith effort guarantees a grade of B; evidence of a deep understanding is required for an A. The various cut-offs will be determined at the end of the semester (and not before). And, as per the new university policy for this semester (only), any student can change to be receiving S/U for the final course grade.

But a revised scheme will now be used for computing the "80% Homework" portion of your course grade that was specified in Course Overview and Organization. This revised scheme provides various options. Each option involves using your grades on a specific subset of assignments; some subsets of assignments do not correspond to any option. The options (detailed below) range from submitting no additional assignments (Option 1) to submitting Homework 5 along with a new Homework 6 (Option 4).

How and when do you register for an option? You don't! The subset of assignments you submit to CMS for grading indicates the option you are choosing. It's that simple! But beware: while you can always advance to next (higher) option (by submitting the next assignment), there is no way for you to return to a previous (lower) option.

Under our revised grading scheme, your final course grade now will be determined by your mastery of the material covered in only those assignments you have submitted (and we have graded). This scheme thus rewards students who have developed the ability (which will prove very useful after graduation) to assess whether they understand the subject matter being covered by an assignment, since not submitting a given assignment is better for your course grade than submitting that assignment and getting a bad grade on it.

The options are listed just below. Option 2 and Option 4 mention Homework 5-alt, which is an alternative to Homework 5. Option 3 allows students to get credit for success in building and debugging the system for Homework 5. Homework 6 will be assigned at a later date, and it will concern material covered in this final segment of the class.