Math teachers: Do you require your students to show work?

Discussion in 'High School' started by CindyBlue, Mar 10, 2009.

  1. CindyBlue

    CindyBlue Cohort

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    Math teachers: Do you require your students to show work? I know there was a thread around somewhere on this topic...does anyone remember where it is? And if you didn't respond to that thread, would you mind answering the question here? I sure could use some opinions on this! Thanks!
     
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  3. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I have a deal with my kids: either the work counts, or it doesn't.

    If it does, it has to be shown.

    If it doesn't then there's no partial credit, since the answer is all that matters. And I'm normally GOOD with partial credit.

    Occasionally I've had a student challenge me. I have him write "no partial credit" on his next test. After he loses out on one or 2 20 point questions for the lack of a negative sign he tends to see things my way.
     
  4. scholarteacher

    scholarteacher Connoisseur

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    When I taught 5th grade, I had mine show their work 99% of the time so that if there were errors, I could trace the mistake and possibly detect a pattern of errors and wrong thinking that could be corrected.
     
  5. MathNrd

    MathNrd Rookie

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    I teach Algebra. I do not "make" my students show their work. BUT I tell them that if they choose not to show their work then they can not earn partial credit.
    I also tell them that I can not help them if they do not show their work.
    Because I am not "making" them show their work, most of them do it.
     
  6. HMM

    HMM Cohort

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    No work no credit.
     
  7. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    I really love this approach. When I start teaching, I will definitely implement this. Fighting with kids to show their work gets so tedious and tiresome. Most of the calculations in earth science are not very challenging so it is even more of an issue to get them to label and show work. Even if the answer is correct though, it just isn't good science.
     
  8. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Ditto. Partial credit is an area my department fights over constantly.
     
  9. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Ditto.

    The answer, while important, is only part of the process, and it's not even the most important part (at least in my world). I'm interested in wether or not you know the processes, the logic, and most importantly, can write it all down in a from that makes sense and is readable. I've had many students come back and thank me for that last bit when they got to the point where they had to write proofs. They say "Wow...you didn't tell us we were writing proofs for Algebra, but we really were and now it's so easy to write geometry proofs". Mission accomplished :)
     
  10. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    I don't teach math, but I think this is really fair. I am really good at mental math and I would get so mad if I got points off on my tests if I didn't show ALL my work. But some of it I thought was just too basic and repetitive. I would show work, but I might not write out every single step, or I might do a few steps at a time, while the teacher would only want one step at a time.

    But I also knew if I got too cocky and made a mistake, the teacher would mark off points, so I made sure to show most of my work.
     
  11. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Mental math or no, getting the answer is only part of the problem. HOW you get there is far more important. Most people will never use formal algebra in their adult lives, but what they will use is the logic that is learned. Beyond that, I've heard way to many people say the same thing, only to run into a stumbling block later on because what they thought worked across the board only worked ina limited circumstance, and when that concept needed to be generalized, they couldn't. If that person had been made to write out his or her thought process, then a teacher would have known right away that there was a problem and would have been able to correct it.
     
  12. Catcherman22

    Catcherman22 Companion

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    I do for everything but standardized assessments.. department tests, benchmarks, etc.. because they do not need to show work on their state standardized tests, and it ssuppose to mock them
     
  13. sahsjing

    sahsjing Rookie

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    It really depends on your student level. For very smart kids, you should encourage them to have 'jump' thinking. For struggled kids, they must show their work to learn.
     
  14. sciencegurl

    sciencegurl Companion

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    I teach science, but for all math problems I will not give any points w/o work shown
     
  15. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    The really smart kids get the tougher problems. They get to show work for them too.

    I've been working all year with my honors kids, showing them the numeric shortcuts. So they don't have to show each step of the arithmetic. But to get credit for my Algebra class, they need to show the algebraic progression from point A to point B.
     
  16. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    :yeahthat:

    Showing work means showing key steps. If you take 3x-4 = 5, and then then next line says 3x = 9, and the next line says x = 3 I can see that you've added three to boths sides, then divided by three and you've shown your work. However, if I just see x = 3, then I have no clue how you got there. That is the minimum I expect in an honors student. Now, if a student is struggling with even that, then I want them to write down the actual subtraction and division.
     
  17. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Mar 14, 2009

    Exactly, mm.

    Once they perfect the basics, I encourage them to skip the obvious steps; it saves them time and really isn't necessary. But I stll expect to see a logical progression of work.

    After all, as teacher, how can I help them fix their mistakes if I can't tell where they went wrong???
     

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