CSC 499 Grinnell College Summer, 2010
Placing Incoming Students in
Computer Science, Statistics, and Mathematics

Procedures with Data

This document outlines policies, procedures, and practices for the handling of data for CSC 499: Placement of Incoming Students in Computer Science, Statistics, and Mathematics for Summer 2010.

Status of this Document

This document outlines the official poicies, procedures, and practices to be followed for this project.

Scope of Project

The aim of this project is to reorganize and rethink the current software for placing incoming students in computer science, statistics, and mathematics courses. This work also will include a careful analysis of past placements, identifying where students were placed, what they actually took, and how they performed in their first course.

The current software system includes about 120 rules that yield placements for incoming students. This system will be expanded somewhat to include options related to placement statistics that have not be available previously. Data required for placement will be as follows:

In addition, to evaluate the effective of the placement rules, the following data are required:

Policies, Procedures, and Practices

In developing a revised system, access is needed for the developers and evaluators. However, since these data involve information about specific students, confidentiality is essential. The following policies, procedures, and practices are established to maintain needed confidentiality.

  1. Data received from the Registrar's Office will be stored on a local, isolated copy of a MySQL database in Science 3812. This machine will be configured, so that MySQL data cannot be accessed through other machines on MathLAN or elsewhere.
  2. When any printouts are required, a worker on this project will monitor the relevant printer during the printing process.
  3. Any printouts, other paper copies of data, or scripts will be kept in the lab, Science 3812; and the room will be kept locked when workers are not present.
  4. All hard copy materials will be shredded when they are no longer needed.
  5. Faculty involved in system development or placement review process will follow normal faculty requirements involving confidentiality. Thus, only faculty in computer science or statistics departments will have access to these data, and then access to individual data will be possible only to accomplish the development and review process.
  6. Any access to confidential data for faculty will be limited to hand-delivered paper copies or to a password-protected Web interface.
  7. Following procedures established in the Registrar's Office for student workers, the two students involved in this project will be expected to sign confidentiality agreements. For the purposes of this project, these students will be considered as having the same obligations as students working for the Registrar.

At the end of the project, reporting of this project in posters or articles may involve summary statistics regarding placements. However, in any report, placement statistics will not be released unless there are at least 10 students in each disclosed category.

created 22 May 2010
last revised 1 June 2010
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For more information, please contact Henry M. Walker at