True/False problems are obvious to grade, but how do I grade calculation problems? I arrange them in piles on my table in order of how happy or sad they make me, like this:

This gives me a fair and consistent way to assign numerical values that represent the quality or completeness of each solution. The numbers over the whole quiz get added up and then I figure out what levels of performance represent “A work”, “B work”, and so on, for that particular quiz.

Things that make me happy include:

- Showing steps clearly and in logical order
- Following a valid solution method
- Justifying your work (with annotations, not sentences)
- Evidence that you did similar practice homework problems or listened in class to the things that we discussed
- Being able to figure out where you went wrong if your final answer is not completely correct (I can give you partial credit if you provided enough work to show me!)
- To a lesser degree, getting the correct final answer

In general, you’ll get more points for logical, well-reasoned work with an error that messes up your final answer than you would get for messy or sparse work that mysteriously or perhaps only luckily ends up in the right place at the end.

The first week’s quiz was a little rough (notice the somewhat large pile of sad papers three from the left in the picture above), but I am pretty sure that the second week will be better. Good luck everybody!

P.S. Keys will be posted each week on the Quiz Keys page. You can use the quiz keys as an example of the kind of work that you should provide on your own quizzes to justify your reasoning. Note that although you don’t have to show work for T/F questions on your own quizzes, I will sometimes include short explanatory notes for T/F problems on the keys.