Grading Policies

Our determinations of the correctness of each answer will be made based on the intention of the problem, as long as the staff believes that the intention was clear. We will not listen to legalistic arguments about why poor solutions should be considered correct.

We will not debate the amount of points deducted for mistakes. Those are entirely at the descretion of the course staff.

Grading Guidelines

Legibility is critical

You may lose points for solutions that are not legible. Whenever the grader has to spend a noticeable amount of time trying to determine what your submission actually says, they will deduct points.

You can eliminate that possibility by typsetting your solution. (See below for suggestions on how to do so.)

Clarity is important

One of the goals of CSE 311 is to learn how to express ideas clearly using mathematical formalism. You may lose points for solutions that are unclear.

Note that what is clear is up to the reader. If the reader feels that it was difficult to understand, then it was.

Style is important

Your proofs and explanations should be clear, well-organized, and also concise. That said, it is better to err on the side of including too many details.

Much of this is subjective. Solutions are not simply “right” or “wrong”. An answer that is correct but was hard to follow or overly verbose may lose points.

A picture is not a proof

Pictures and short pieces of pseudo-code can be helpful, but they are not complete answers. Make sure you’ve explained everything clearly in English.

Typesetting Suggestions

LaTeX is the standard tool for typesetting mathematical materials. While it takes some time to learn, it will likely pay for itself in the long run. LaTeX math notation is also supported in some places outside of LaTeX documents, such as on the Piazza message board.

A former CSE 311 instructor, Adam Blank, has provided these documents, which may be useful to you:

  • A template LaTeX file to use for CSE 311 homework assigments.
  • A tutorial on LaTeX, including specific information on how to use the template.

Note that LaTeX does not need to be installed on your computer. You can use it in a web browser at the Overleaf web site.

While LaTeX is not required for your assignments in CSE 311, it is encouraged. However, LaTeX is not the best tool for every job. In particular, for drawing circuits, finite state machines, and other diagrams, it is often preferable to draw them by hand, take a picture, and include it in your LaTeX document using the \includegraphics{FILE_NAME} command.