"Show your work."

Discussion in 'General Education' started by leeshis0019, Mar 12, 2015.

  1. leeshis0019

    leeshis0019 Companion

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    Mar 12, 2015

    How do people feel about the idea of "showing your work".

    As in: how did you arrive at your answer?

    I ask my students to do it all the time when they are practicing. It allows me to monitor their progress and specifically critique problem areas.

    However, I will often omit this requirement on a test. I'll tell them that it's quite simple: "If you get it wrong and don't show your work then you get no points. If you get it wrong and show your work you might get partial or near full credit especially if you just plug it into your calculator funny."

    How do other handle this? I know math teachers struggle with this daily and it might not be a huge issue in classes outside of science/math, but how do you implement this and how do your students like it?



    Or maybe it is a huge issue outside of science/math? I don't know!
     
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  3. CatfaceMeowmers

    CatfaceMeowmers Companion

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    As a sub, I constantly struggle to get kids to show their work. They seem soooo lazy. It's only a couple more steps! And it makes sense to show their way of thinking! But again, as a sub, many students won't listen or go out of their way.

    But as a future math teacher, I definitely plan to get students to show their work. I think your idea for the test is good. That way you can find a possible mistake and give them some credit if it's a simple mistake. On the other hand, many students, though given this opportunity, just simply won't take it. They'll think, it's not required, so I don't have to do it.

    I actually think this is a pretty good idea, because it puts the responsibility on the student - which is a great thing in middle school. However, during practice or classwork, students should be required to show their work.

    Many say they do it in their head, which is fine if its simple addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division. But I believe here students are not allowed to use calculators (I am still fairly new to the district here). If they are not allowed, then they have to write it out anyway to work it out. Even if calculators are allowed, I'd have students rewrite exactly what was punched into the calculator on their paper.
     
  4. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Mar 12, 2015

    My third graders have to show their work for everything. They just flat-out don't get credit if they don't. From my perspective, it's a matter of consistency and getting them into the habit. When I introduce a concept, I let them know what work I expect to see. If they have an alternate way of showing that same work, that's fine... for example, for a problem like 34 x 56, I introduce four different ways to solve them, but if they'd rather forgo all four and choose a different method, that's fine. Either way though, the key is setting expectations up front and being consistent about them.
     
  5. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    I require them to show their work. If they don't show their work, I don't give them credit and they have to do the assignment over. They also need to show work on their quizzes and tests.

    There are some rare exceptions, but that is my general rule.
     
  6. miss-m

    miss-m Devotee

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    Mar 12, 2015

    Part of the point of showing work is getting students to be able to verbalize their thinking, and then if they do make a mistake they can see exactly what they did and where they went wrong. I absolutely think students should be showing their work, especially on math problems that may require multiple steps. If they don't write it out, they probably can't tell you very clearly what they did, and it makes it much harder for you as the teacher to see where they need more instruction.
     
  7. cafekarma

    cafekarma Rookie

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    Mar 14, 2015

    I agree with this. Where I teach, we are required to have students verbalize their thinking in every assessment and throughout each unit. Some of the kids moan and groan about it, but I have never had better insight into what is happening in the brains of my students.
     
  8. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    Anyone who is/has done the PARCC testing in math is painfully aware that students who can't explain the process/work used to find the answer is going to be at an extreme disadvantage. There is no getting full credit for problems without showing and explaining the work. I noted this throughout all of the grade levels, so even if you are not in a PARCC state, this is going to be the look of most standardized testing going forward, at least for the immediate future, so the writing on the wall is clear - if the students aren't showing their work, able to write a rationale for the steps they used, the work is neither correct nor complete. Wish I could see this differently, but I believe that this is not only fair, but a true assessment about core understanding.
     
  9. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Mar 14, 2015

    The language arts equivalent of "show your work" is probably citing evidence from text to prove an answer, and yes, it can be quite trying to get some students to do this.
     
  10. beccmo

    beccmo Comrade

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    Mar 15, 2015

    At the beginning of every year I have physics students who question showing all work. After a few tests where they lost all points for an incorrect answer versus their neighbor who showed their process to solve and lost 1 point for a calculator mistake, they come around.
     
  11. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Mar 15, 2015

    Agreed....I'm not a PARCC fan, but I have always taught my students to show their thinking in words, pictures and numbers when problem solving.:thumb:
     
  12. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    Mar 16, 2015

    I would think a LA equivalent should be outlining an essay before writing it -- I think this should be done for all essays (even those written in a single period of 45 minutes can have 5 minutes devoted to outlining).
     
  13. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Mar 16, 2015

    Definitely this too.
     

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