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.
Throughout the semester I’ll tell you about talks and events that I think could be interesting and relevant to students in MATH 231. This Monday’s talk is particularly accessible and Steve Lucas is always a great speaker!
Attend Monday’s colloquium in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics and hand in a two-paragraph casual writeup by the end of the week for 5 extra credit points. If you can’t attend, don’t stress; I will present other opportunities for extra credit later in the course. Everyone will have an opportunity to earn up to 20 points of extra credit.
My scheduled office hours are moving around a bit as the semester takes shape. They are now 1:00-2:00 pm on Mondays, Wednesdays, and sometimes also on Fridays.
Those hours are subject to change week by week; please consult the class Calendar for updated information, and always feel free to call my office phone at 540-568-3355 at any time to see if I happen to be around. If my scheduled office hours don’t work for you and you need to see me, then catch me before/after class and we can try to schedule an appointment.
I’m also happy to answer specific questions by email at pretty much any time of day or night. The more specific you can be, the more likely I will be able to reply to you in a timely fashion. By “specific” I ideally mean something really, really specific that includes a picture of what you are asking about, such as this fictional question:
“I got stuck on problem #142 in Section 0.3 after the step for simplifying; how do I go from my simplified expression to a solution that is written in terms of intervals? Here’s a photo of the problem in the book that I took with my cell phone, and a photo of what I’ve done on the problem so far.”
Today we’ll cover the review sections on numbers, equations, and inequalities, and start getting into swing of how most class days will work. That is, you’ll write questions on the board on the way in, we’ll have a short Daily Quiz, and then spend most of class discussing problems in groups.
// Before class
- Read and take notes in your Notebook on Sections 0.1, 0.2, and 0.3
- Be ready with questions to ask about the three review sections
- Did you add your info the (optional) Study Group Finder spreadsheet?
- Are you still waiting for your textbook? Email me and I will send you a PDF of the first three sections of the book.
- If you’re new to the class then be sure to look over the earlier posts and read all the class documents before class on Wednesday.
// During class
- Questions – Write them on the board as you come in
- Logistics – New people, SMLC open on Monday, discuss remaining class policies
- Daily Quiz – On Sections 0.1, 0.2, and 0.3 reading and examples (Notebooks are permitted!)
- Discussion – Based on your questions and today’s class slides
- Group Work – Problems from Sections 0.1, 0.2, and 0.3
- Wrap Up – Talk about the Friday Quiz, take pictures of the boards
// From the board
- Simple inequalities that involve expressions of the form \(|b-a|\) can be interpreted as statements about distances, and solved on a number line without any algebra. Be sure that you can do problems like these, whose solutions are punctured intervals:
- Also be sure that you can solve inequalities like these two from today’s class. You should be using the method outlined in Theorem 0.21. In other words you should be using factors and a number line, rather than a lot of cases with “and’s” and “or’s”.
// After class
- Are you having a lot of trouble with the algebra review material in Sections 0.1, 0.2, and 0.3?
- If you are in MATH 199 then make sure to get started studying for your first Gateway tests as soon as possible. See me if you need help getting started. Completing MATH 199 quickly will help you a lot in MATH 231.
- If you aren’t in MATH 199 and are having trouble, then see me as soon as possible. I can set you up with access to the study materials in MATH 199, or you can choose to enroll in MATH 199 as a co-requisite.
- Complete as many homework problems as you need to for Sections 0.1, 0.2, and 0.3, and study for the Friday Quiz. The quiz problems will be based on exercises from the textbook.
- HOMEWORK TO DEFINITELY DO:
- The Test Your Understanding questions in each of the three sections.
- Exercises #0, #1, and #2 in each of the three sections.
- The minimum Notebook requirements for each section (except for the exceptions listed below)
- In fact, the above is recommended for all sections in the book.
- HOMEWORK YOU DON’T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT:
- The Applications, Proofs, and Thinking Forward exercises for these three sections (although you will need to master these types of exercises in future sections).
- Exercises #44-#52 in Section 0.3 about solving more difficult absolute value inequalities (but make sure you are able to do #41-#43).