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Dettaglio pubblicazione

2019, EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF OPERATIONAL RESEARCH, Pages 364-371 (volume: 272)

Three methods for robust grading (01a Articolo in rivista)

Burer S., Piccialli V.

We propose three strategies by which a professor of a university course can assign final letter grades taking into account the natural uncertainty in students’ individual assignment and final numerical grades. The first strategy formalizes a common technique that identifies large gaps in the final numerical grades. For the second and third strategies, we introduce the notion of a borderline student, that is, a student who is close to, but below, the breakpoint for the next highest letter grade. Using mixed-integer linear programming and a tailor-made branch-and-bound algorithm, we choose the letter-grade breakpoints to minimize the number of borderline students. In particular, the second strategy treats the uncertainty implicitly and minimizes the number of borderline students, while the third strategy uses a robust-optimization approach to minimize the maximum number of borderline students that could occur based on an explicit uncertainty set. We compare the three strategies on realistic instances and identify overall trends as well as some interesting exceptions. While no strategy appears best in all cases, each can be computed in a reasonable amount of time for a moderately sized course. Moreover, they collectively provide the professor important insight into how uncertainty affects the assignment of final letter grades.
Gruppo di ricerca: Continuous Optimization
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