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

Timeline — Tentative Schedule of Activities

Week index: 12345678910  fall

Although the project will evolve over the summer, the following schedule outlines a possible timeline for this project.

Week Dates Activities Status Product
Week 1: 14-18 June project overview and orientation done Thursday Extra Talk (link)
review of policies and procedures review completed Policies and Procedures (link)
discussion of possible use of MySQL, scripting language done decision to use MySQL and PHP
creation of placement database and students table done students table created in MySQL
import of student transcript data into students table done table loaded from spreadsheet
script for insertion of manual placements into students table done manual_placements.php script written
import of student performance data into students table done performance_load.php script written
identification of reports needed from students table done reports outline in Week 2 schedule
import of past student placement data into students table done prevplacement2.php script written
printing table of selected data from students table first simple report done include file and script display-students.php written
review and polishing of schedule done timeline expanded and refined for weeks 2-4
mechanism for reporting and approach for automated reporting testing of scripts outline established identified in Weeks 2-4 of timeline
Week 2: 21-25 June high-level design of new system — prepare outline for CS group presentation done Possible placements (link)
add target fields to student table for cs, math, and statistics done fields added
script that copies previous placement to current recommendation and current target done copyPlacements.php script written
table of placed vrs. taken courses for CS, for math, for stat by class or all. For each placement/taken box, have rows for A,B,C,D,F,W and columns for -,.,+ done script tablePlacedTaken.php written
develop detailed procedures for restoring student table in database done file restoreDatabase.txt
script copyPlacements: copies placement field to rec*place and target* field
include file to print student record in nice format done script printRecords.php written
exploration of LaTeX for generating letters started initial LaTeX files run
specification of letter-generation software draft written first-draft for plain TeX(link)
Week 3: 28 June-2 July experimentation with LaTeX for generating letters done files 134190.tex, 196855.tex, 228779.tex, 24283.tex, 295809.tex
writing of letter-generation scripts done script letterPrototype
listing of students and their records for given placement and given course taken, perhaps given grade, perhaps given class; if given command-line parameters, use them; else prompt for placement, course, grade, class done script listCourse.php
table of recommended placements vrs. target placements done script tableRecTarget.php
listing of students and their records, given recommended and target placements; if given command-line parameters, use them; else prompt done script tablePlaceTaken.php
retrieve student records for students with any specific combination values in given data fields (e.g., all students who were placed in 123 and who received a D) done script listAnyCombination.php
Week 4: 5-9 July meet with math faculty to review effectiveness of placements and determine new targets done tables of placements versus student performance produced
sample draft letters distributed
generate student lists for specific categories of math placement versus performance lists lists printed for review
explore student lists to find possible common factors work underway initial patterns are emerging
polish letter-generation scripts revision done sample letters printed for math faculty
determine data structure(s) for placement rules done specification placed on project home page
write formal grammar for placement rules draft completed formal grammar available on project home page
write sample scripts showing data structure(s) will work effectively for rule-based processing done script array.php written
translate old LISP rules for CS and statistics to new PHP-based rules done php files adjSemMath.php, csRules, statRules.php, stdTestRules.php written
write script that takes PHP-based rules and prints in easy-to-read English-based format done script printInEnglish written
Week 5: 12-16 July meet with CS faculty to review effectiveness of placements and determine new targets careful review accomplished sample draft letters to be distributed
received feedback on drafts
letters updated for CS
write draft version of inference engine draft completed scripts written
Week 6: 19-23 July test inference engine by comparing recommended placements with what students took for effectiveness study testing completed scripts tableForMathAnalysis.php, tableForStatAnalysis.php, tableRecTaken.php
identify apparent discrepencies between placement data and transcript data review completed placement rules adjusted in CS, math, statistics
examine student placement in math and student performance to identify proposed rule refinements review completed refined rules proposed to statistics, math faculty
work with stat faculty to review effectiveness of placements and determine new targets review completed math rules revised, text of letters refined
work with math faculty to review effectiveness of placements and determine new targets review completed math rules revised, text of letters refined
Week 7: 26-30 July polish inference engine for "true" condition, "add" clause, consistency in 'unknown' specification update completed script inferenceDriver.php, inferenceEngine.php revised
add SAT2 to placement rules (SATRealMath will be maximum of SAT, SAT1, SAT2) addition completed rules added to placementRules.php
add AdjSemOfMath to placement rules update completed placementRules.php updated
update toEnglish.php to handle expanded rule grammar done scripts printInEnglish.php, toEngArray.php updated
polish, proofread placement letter detailed review completed macro files csMacros.sty mathMacros.sty, generalMacros.sty, multipleUnknownPlacements.sty, letterSetup.sty, statMacros.sty, transcriptMacros.sty, unkPlaceMacros.sty updated
write script(s) to move data from Registrar's spreadsheet to student database table, perhaps via separate, temporary table (script(s) must field names and ordering of fields) work completed for Registrar's data (still under development for transfer credit) script loadData.php completed
send draft sample letters to stat, CS, math faculty work completed letters reviewed and sent
refine letter generator to resolve LaTeX warnings warnings resolved macros and scripts updated
send detailed student placement tables to stat faculty done tables sent via email
write basic html form and php script(s) for Web-based placement application simple form and script completed version 0.5 available
Week 8: 2-6 August extensive testing of placement system; feedback received from Ms. Kuiper done placementRules.php revised and loading of file script streamlined
write script(s) to handle transfer course data for incoming students done script loadData.php completed
add transfer information to generated letters (with limit/warning if more than 4 items) done scripts generateLetters.php, generateLettersDetail.php revised
code review of inference engine and database-update script done scripts conditionFunctions.php, generateLetters.php, inferenceEngine.php, loadData.php, ruleFunctions.php, generateLettersDetail.php, inferenceDriver.php, inferenceInteractions.php, placementRules.php updated
develop user-oriented procedures to aid in the full placement process draft completed and reviewed document available to users
review of placement rules done finalized rules installed in placementRules.php
brainstorm overall design of Web-based placement application done initial design outlined, with menu options for
  • Placement overview
  • Find your placement ==> generated placements
  • Placement guidelines
    • general
    • CS
    • Statistics
    • Math
  • Links
    • CS
    • Math/Stat
    • Grinnell College
  • Some recent projects in CS, Stat, Math
  • Acknowledgments
Week 9: 9-13 August meet with Math/Stat faculty to manually place students with transfer credit done database updated with revised placements
run letters for incoming students and their advisors done letters distributed Friday afternoon and Monday
develop draft Web site for placement preliminary site created feedback received from two reviewers on draft Web site
plan and draft Poster done listing of topics created
determine outline of research paper preliminary listing completed listing of topics created
Week 10: 16-20 August complete poster done posted on MAP index page
complete user documentation done directions given in run-notes-inferenceSystem.txt
refine and complete Web interface done Web site posted on ~walker/public_html/cs-math-stat-placement/
draft paper sections completed pieces integrated into an overall document
Fall 2010 September / October planning of MAP presentation forthcoming
celebrate acceptance of paper forthcoming

This timeline will be updated regularly throughout the project.

created 22 May 2010
last revised 20 August 2010
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For more information, please contact Henry M. Walker at