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Failed because of 48 hrs "requirement"

Dieskun Koper
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 15, 2004
Posts: 85
Hello everybody,

Today, after a month of waiting, I got my result: F.
Automatic Failure to be precise.

I think the accessor made a mistake and I will send them an e-mail on Monday. No matter who is right, I think the aspiring SCJDs should know about it.

The accessors comments were:

Automatic Failure: Assessor Comments: Submission fails because it does not meet the Assignment Specifications. The application allows users to book hotel rooms for any date in the future, even months before the reservation date. This violates the requirement that users may "take bookings only within 48 hours of the start of room occupancy" and so, the application is incomplete. The application partially meets this requirement, it does block bookings for past dates.


My application does not do anything with the dates. I display search results no matter whether their dates are in the future or past, and I do not block bookings for past or future dates (the reviewer's last comment is wrong on that).

My specification (URLyBird) mentions in the Background section:

They take bookings only within 48 hours of the start of room
occupancy.


"They" refers to the company ("URLyBird is a broker of discount hotel rooms"). I therefore read it as a company policy, not as an application requirement.
Note that this is the only place in the specification that this is mentioned, and it does not include the word "must".

Checking the date restricts the use of the application: the computers it is run on need to have an up to date clock, and a slight but not unexpected policy change regarding this rule would render the application useless until it is updated.
I think it is the responsibility of the CSRs to allow or disallow such bookings. Maybe the specification should have included requirements to allow the CSRs to include the date in the search criteria, show a warning message or somehow mark rooms with past or future dates. But it does not, and I think it would be irresponsible of the developer to add restrictions without clear backing of the specification.

I will keep you informed.
Regards,
Dies (Failed, for now)
Billy Tsai
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 23, 2003
Posts: 1304
Go to ur local Sun Microsystems office and protest


BEA 8.1 Certified Administrator, IBM Certified Solution Developer For XML 1.1 and Related Technologies, SCJP, SCWCD, SCBCD, SCDJWS, SCJD, SCEA,
Oracle Certified Master Java EE 5 Enterprise Architect
Saheed Adepoju
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 23, 2004
Posts: 267
Hi
Dont feel too bad! Just try and get it over with! Send your complains to SUN. Dont worry man, we are all behind yah! I will keep in touch with your subject! Good luck
Saheed.


Saheed Adepoju<br />SCJP 1.4<br />SCJD (B&S..In progress)
Inuka Vincit
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 10, 2004
Posts: 175
Although I did include it in my program, from reading the assignment specs I thought it was an optional requirement. You should definitely protests because according to the assignment instructions any requirement that is not specified by MUST is not required. The 48hour constraint is not listed under the MUST category.

When you do implement the booking constraints it is assumed that the clock is correct and that the client and server are in the same time zone. However you can just make a note of it in the documentation, and implement it.

Eitherway way I hope you can get it regraded, good luck!!!
[ December 04, 2004: Message edited by: Inuka Vincit ]

MCP (C# application dev 70-316) 860<br />SCJP 1.4 100% SCJD (URLyBird) 378<br />MAD 100% nuts
M Jay
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 21, 2004
Posts: 66
yo man I totally agree with you, it sounded like a company policy and not an application requirement, Good Luck.


SCJP J2SE 1.4<br />SCBCD J2EE 1.3
Oricio Ocle
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 30, 2004
Posts: 284

Hello Dieskun,
Thank you very much for your post.
I agree with them, your work must be regraded. Good luck!


SCJP, OCMJD, OCMJEA
peter wooster
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 13, 2004
Posts: 1033
Originally posted by Dieskun Koper:
Hello everybody,

Today, after a month of waiting, I got my result: F.
Automatic Failure to be precise.


Appeal this to Sun, see this thread.
[ December 04, 2004: Message edited by: peter wooster ]
Andrew Monkhouse
author and jackaroo
Marshal Commander

Joined: Mar 28, 2003
Posts: 11481
    
  94

Hi Dieskun,

This happened at least once before - Terry Martinson received an auto failure for the 48hrs which he discussed in "NX: 48 hour Auto failure".

Long story short - he appealed to Sun (who2contact@sun.com) and his appeal was upheld (he passed).

I suggest you try the same.

Please let us know how you get on.

Regards, Andrew


The Sun Certified Java Developer Exam with J2SE 5: paper version from Amazon, PDF from Apress, Online reference: Books 24x7 Personal blog
Billy Tsai
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 23, 2003
Posts: 1304
Apparently even the Sun Educational services' assignment marker are not very clear on the requirements either
Andrew Monkhouse
author and jackaroo
Marshal Commander

Joined: Mar 28, 2003
Posts: 11481
    
  94

Hi Billy,

Originally posted by Billy Tsai:
Apparently even the Sun Educational services' assignment marker are not very clear on the requirements either


As I understand it, the assessment is done by people / companies appointed by Prometric.

One of the requirements for this submission is that you must provide your instructions when you submit your assignment. That way the assessor can see the requirements for themselves. Obviously (IMHO as in this case) they may read more into it than is really there.

The assignments and their marking criteria do get revisited from time to time. Some of these issues will hopefully be clarified in the next round.

Regards, Andrew
Mark Spritzler
ranger
Sheriff

Joined: Feb 05, 2001
Posts: 17257
    
    6

To me when I read that specs I thought it meant 48 hours and higher. Meaning you can't book the night before, you have to book in the future. That is how it sounds to me.

So some hotel chain is not going to take your booking because it is next week? That sounds ridiculous.

Mark


Perfect World Programming, LLC - Two Laptop Bag - Tube Organizer
How to Ask Questions the Smart Way FAQ
peter wooster
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 13, 2004
Posts: 1033
Originally posted by Mark Spritzler:
To me when I read that specs I thought it meant 48 hours and higher. Meaning you can't book the night before, you have to book in the future. That is how it sounds to me.

So some hotel chain is not going to take your booking because it is next week? That sounds ridiculous.

Mark


My instructions state
"They sell accomodations for business and pleasure travellers at short notice, helping hotels to fill rooms that would otherwise be left empty. They take bookings only within 48 hours of the start of room occupancy"

When I first got the instructions I underlined all "must" clauses, and included the bold portion of that as the "only" is very similar to must.

So I read it (before participating in this forum) as the examiner did, but I don't think it should be an automatic failure since the word "must" was not explicitly in the requirement.

The requirement isn't all that silly, its just like reservation services like the "Last Minute Club".
Dieskun Koper
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 15, 2004
Posts: 85
Thank you everybody for your replies.

I sent an e-mail to Sun yesterday. Looking at Terry's experience, it might take a few weeks until I get a reply.

Although I can very well understand some policy on when people can and cannot make bookings (I suppose they have agreements with the hotels: people who want to book earlier should book at the hotel directly and not at the reduced rate URLyBird is offering), I thought and I still think it is a bad idea to implement such policy without clear backing from the spec.

The "48 hrs rule" is only mentioned once in the Background, not in the name of the company or anywhere that could give us a hint as to how definite the number "48" is. I can very well understand, especially in a growing company, that they would like to change this number at some time. Maybe some more hours/days around less popular seasons, less when there is some event in the city in question, etc.
If this policy is changed, my application would still work, and yours won't, at least until a programmer is hired to change it.

Well, I'll let you know when I hear from them..
Cheers,
Dies
Barend Garvelink
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 07, 2004
Posts: 64
I originally read this as an optional requirement, but having read this post, I'm now (reluctantly) enforcing the limit in code.

I did incorporate an override flag in the application properties file, so that a change in business policy does not demand a change in program code.

Thanks for the pointer, Dieskun!


SCJP 1.4, SCJD 1.4, SCWCD 1.3, ICSD:Websphere 5.1
Dieskun Koper
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 15, 2004
Posts: 85
Monday last week I mailed Sun, and today I got the following reply:

<quote>
The assessor double checked your exam and does not agree with you. Your score currently stands as is. You will need to resubmit.
</quote>

What is that? No reasons or anything!?

Until a bit over a month ago I was so enjoying working on this assignment, and now I got a stubborn accessor who can't admit he/she's wrong and now I should do it all over again?

Any tips on how to proceed are appreciated.

# One thing I am thinking of doing is asking the following:
# I got an auto-failure and the specification says:
#Where this document uses the word "must" an absolute requirement #is being described. If you fail to adhere to such a requirement, #your assignment will be failed automatically, and without further #evaluation.
# So which absolute requirement using 'must' did I break?

# But I'm worried that it is not a strong argument to trigger a re-evaluation after the e-mail I sent last week with many more arguments..

Regards,
Dies
Nicholas Cheung
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 07, 2003
Posts: 4982
Sorry to hear about that. I have passed the exam last year without implementing the 48-hour rule, however, there are people who keep getting auto failure due to this rule.

I used the same argument as you before, and I have documented and highlighted in both my choice.txt and user guides. I wish you could get your appeal succeed.

Nick


SCJP 1.2, OCP 9i DBA, SCWCD 1.3, SCJP 1.4 (SAI), SCJD 1.4, SCWCD 1.4 (Beta), ICED (IBM 287, IBM 484, IBM 486), SCMAD 1.0 (Beta), SCBCD 1.3, ICSD (IBM 288), ICDBA (IBM 700, IBM 701), SCDJWS, ICSD (IBM 348), OCP 10g DBA (Beta), SCJP 5.0 (Beta), SCJA 1.0 (Beta), MCP(70-270), SCBCD 5.0 (Beta), SCJP 6.0, SCEA for JEE5 (in progress)
Dieskun Koper
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 15, 2004
Posts: 85
Thank you Nick, for letting me know you passed without the 48 hrs rule, and Andrew for posting the url to Terry's experience.

As I mailed in the following thread, my appeal has been approved and my "Auto Failure" has been changed into a "Passed".

Passed with 365/400

History of Events:
October 30 - Did Part 3, could not upload the assignment
November 3/4 - Uploaded assignment
December 5 - Found out that I got an Automatically Failure for not implementing the 48 hours 'requirement'.
December 6 - Mailed who2contact, explained why I thought this was not a requirement but a business policy, described why I did not mention it in my choices.txt either.
December 13 - Mailed who2contact, asked status
December 15 - Received reply from Monica Green that my accessor did not agree.
December 16 - Mailed Monica, asked for accessor's reasons for not agreeing, quoted parts of my instructions.html relating "must", "requirement" and "Automatic Failure". Asked to have my following e-mail to be responded by Sun, not my accessor.
December 16 - Mailed who2contact with 3 general questions about the assignment. I'll quote them later.
December 21 - Received reply from Monica to the 3 questions above. I'll quote them later.
December 21- Replied to Monica, asked if that meant my submission was being re-evaluated.
December 28 - Found in the DB that I passed.

I did not receive a reply from Sun that my assignment was being re-evaluated. I wonder, if I had not checked the Cert Manager myself, whether they would have ever told me.
And I'd thought an apology for their mistake would have been in order. Maybe I'll get it after the New Year's holidays but I won't hold my breath.

Regarding the 3 questions I wrote to Sun (all quotes are shortened a bit):


Q1. Are there any requirements that do not include the word "must"? Are there any requirements not marked by "must" that could lead to automatic failure?
A1. If your document contains an instruction that doesn't say "must" then you may lose points for not following that instruction, but you will not fail automatically.


# This one means that my accessor had no ground to give me an auto-failure for the 48 hrs rule.


Q2. I assumed that the 48 hours business rule was not a requirement. Is this okay or can it lead to failure if I do not address it?
A2. Yes, this is ok. That part of the instructions is a bit vague, so you have flexibility in how you interpret it.




Q3. In the choices.txt it says I should describe the significant design choices I made. I think it is significant why I am laying out my GUI the way I am doing it, why I chose RMI, how I bypassed networking in the stand-alone mode, etc. What happens if there is something that I felt was not worth mentioning, but you expected a description?
A3. If your choices.txt file explains only the issues you mentioned above, that will be fine.



# Actually, my choices.txt explained much more but I did not mention why I did not implement the 48 hours rule and I wanted to make sure that that was not the problem.

With these answers, I suppose Monica had enough ground to tell the accessor to re-evaluate my assignment.

I hope this information is useful for anyone who ever gets in the position of getting failed wrongly. Even though I could read about Terry's experiences and received many people's support in this group, I felt so hopeless against SUN after my first appeal was rejected like that. They really ruined all the fun and enjoyment I'd been feeling up to the day I got my result. Fortunately, most of that joy is restored now that I passed!

Thanks,
Dies Koper (SCJD, finally!)
 
It is sorta covered in the JavaRanch Style Guide.
 
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