This is the archived website of SI 335 from the Spring 2016 semester. Feel free to browse around; you may also find more recent offerings at my teaching page.

Problem Set Policy

This page describes the procedures for choosing groups for, submitting, presenting, and grading of problem sets for SI 335.

Throughout this page, N will refer to the number of problems on a given problem set. You can expect N to typically be between 3 and 5.


Any students in any section of SI 335 can be in your group. Group size must be at least 1 (i.e., working by yourself) and at most N (the number of problems).

And you can only be in one group at a time!

Skipping one problem

If the size of your group is at most N/2, then your group is only responsible for N-1 problems from the set. That is, you can choose one problem to omit.

Large groups are responsible for all N problems.

Oral presentation

Groups will present problem set solutions in person to the professor at a mutually convenient, scheduled time prior to the deadline. Ample scheduling opportunities will be available in the days prior to the deadline. The scheduled time for a group of size N should be at least 5n+10. (E.g., a 4-person group needs a 30-minute appointment.)

Think of the oral presentation as a discussion between group members and the instructor. The instructor has full discretion over which problems are discussed (except any allowed skipped problem), and may ask any group member to explain the group's solutions.

These presentations are not meant to be a burden but rather an opportunity for students to more effectively communicate their solutions and receive immediate, one-on-one feedback.

Written component

At the time of oral presentation, each group must submit a single packet, using the prescribed cover page, and containing printed or very neatly written outlines of the group's solutions.

Group members are encouraged to refer to their solution outlines as necessary during the presentation. These may also be used as "visual aids" to aid the instructor in understanding the submission.


All group members will receive the same grade for their problem set.

Grading will primarily be based on the oral presentation. The earned grade is based on the quality and correctness of the solution itself, as well as the clarity of the presentation.

Letter grades will be given immediately for each problem presented, with feedback, according to the following rubric:

  • A (95%): Solution meets the stated requirements and is completely correct. Presentation is clear, confident, and concise.
  • B (85%): The main idea of the solution is correct, and the presentation was fairly clear. There may be a few small mistakes in the solution, or some faltering or missteps in the explanation.
  • C (75%): The solution is acceptable, but there are significant flaws or differences from the stated requirements. Group members have difficulty explaining or analyzing their proposed solution.
  • D (65%): Group members fail to present a solution that correctly solves the problem. However, there is clear evidence of significant work and progress towards a solution.
  • F (50% or lower): Little to no evidence of progress towards understanding the problem or producing a correct solution.

Plus/minus adjustments may be awarded as appropriate. In particular, note that a A+ (100%) is only earned by going above and beyond the stated requirements, with an especially impressive solution or presentation.

A written component that is significantly better or worse than the oral presentation may raise or lower the grade by up to 1 letter.