CS 106A Diagnostic Grades

Getting Your Diagnostic Grade: Diagnostic Grades have been released on Gradescope. If you don't see your grade there, please email Brahm as soon as possible.

Questions & Solutions


The median score on the CS 106A Diagnostic was 47/50 and the mean score was 44.5. The standard deviation was 6.49. A full score distribution is reproduced below:

Score Distribution for Diagnostic

While the most important signal the diagnostic provides is on your own understanding of the material, we provide you these statistics so that you have a sense of where you might be expected to be at this point. Given this, perhaps the most important piece of information here is the median score: if you had a result that was around or above the median, you are likely where we expect most students to be at this point in the class. If your score is significantly lower than the median, that might be a sign that it's worth recosidering your strategy in the class, and we'll discuss how we can help you with that later in this handout.

Regrade Requests

We try to grade as consistently as possible, but we are human and we might make mistakes. If you feel like one of your problems was misgraded, please file a regrade request on Gradescope between Wednesday May 6th at 12pm and Sunday May 10th at 12pm. Note that this is the only way to have your regrade request considered; in particular, asking your section leader to take a quick look to see whether a problem was misgraded isn't a way of short circuiting this process. We want you to have the credit you deserve, but filing a formal request helps us make sure that your request goes to the right person.

Note that we graded your diagnostics according to a clear rubric, so we won't be considering regrade requests that simply claim a particular deduction is too harsh, but rather those that argue that a particular criteria was misapplied to a solution.

Interpreting your Diagnostic Grade

In general, we were very pleased with how students did in the diagnostic. It had some tricky questions on it and as a whole, the results indicate that you all have a very solid grasp on the most important takeaways of the last few weeks.

That said, the primary goal of the diagnostic was to provide you with a perspective on where you were in the class, as well as what offer feedback on what to work towards moving forwards. With that in mind, we wanted to provide some general guidelines and things to think about as you go over your solutions and perhaps your strategy:

I did great on the diagnostic! What does this mean?

Congratulations! Doing well on the diagnostic is an indication that you're comfortable with the tools you've learned about thus far in the class.

With the only formal assessment in the class out of the way, you now have the opportunity to sink your teeth into applying this understanding to a variety of exciting contexts. The assignments coming up will cover a variety of such applications, and we encourage you to think about ways you could extend their functionality to practice what you know. Stopping by office hours to discuss parts of the class that interest you is also a really good way of developing your mastery of course material.

Keep in mind that you should continue to make sure that your understanding of course material has a solid foundation; it's easy to become complacent and that can present a challenge in the later part of the course.

I did okay on the diagnostic! What does this mean?

If you scored around or slightly below the median score on the diagnostic, you're where we expect you to be - you likely have at least a decent sense of how the material fits together, although there We'd strongly recommend you take a look at the things you missed in your solutions. Often, these are simple conceptual issues or cases you forgot to consider, and while these are easy fixes, it's important that you start instituting them early to make your life easier in the long run.

Once you've identified the areas that you're a little shaky on, start thinking about ways you might reinforce your understanding. Consider stopping by office hours, the Conceptual LaIR, posting on Ed, or going through the Python Reader. Additionally, note that all the resources discussed in the next section are also available to you.

I didn't do as well as I wanted to on the diagnostic. What does this mean?

Computer Science is a hard thing to learn. For most people taking CS 106A (including Brahm!), it's the first time they are ever exposed to a subject that requires this mode of thought and it's totally understandable to take some time adjusting to it. We know that this class asks a lot of you, and we want you to know that this diagnostic is not a statement of your potential as a Computer Scientist, or even of your potential to succeed in this class. We believe in you!

That said, now might be a good time to revisit your approach to the class, and we're providing a few resources for you here:

  • We are going to be holding some additional help sessions next week reviewing the material from earlier this quarter. You can find the times, zoom links and descriptions of these sessions on the Zoom Information page.

  • Stopping by Mehran, Chris or Brahm's individual office hours is a great opportunity to discuss your specific strategy and how to proceed with the class moving forward. Your section leader is also a great person to have this conversation with. If you're unable to make our regularly-scheduled office hours, feel free to shoot us an email to arrange an alternate time to talk.

We know it can be discouraging to see a score on an assessment that isn't as high as you'd want it to be, but keep in mind that if you're able to come out of this with an idea of how to approach the class, the diagnostic has done its job. You have plenty of opportunities to demonstrate your understanding of the material as the class progresses: the diagnostic is 15% of your grade, and the assignments in the class constitute 75% of your grade, so each assignment serves as another diagnostic, or chance to show us what you can do!