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Help with Grading

There is no wrong way to grade. It’s completely up to you. You are in charge.

But sometimes we need some help deciding where to even begin. Our advice is to remember that the goal is learning, not grades. Grades are a reflection to OTHERS of how much you’ve learned. Most people can game this system and make great grades while knowing very little. This is especially true in math. Students are great at crunching the mechanics of math and can make the grade, but then actually have little understanding. 

The ACT/SAT exams are geared to catch those deficiencies. They test for understanding rather than crunching. On those exams there isn’t enough time to crunch out the answers, there is a few seconds to guess the correct answer based on your understanding and elimination of impossible answers. 

Math is critical thinking. Logic. 

Learning and understanding is your goal.  At this point, your child is in high school – young adults. If they aren’t already, its time for them to own their education. Let them check their work. Help them understand, if they cheat, they are only cheating themselves. 

Grading Homework

Below are some options to choose from for grading. Using these methods, you may discover a combination of them or a completely different method works best for you. But here’s some ideas to start from:

Option 1:

With our children, we did not give a grade for daily work. We did have them check their work and redo the problems they missed.  The key here is to have the STUDENT check their OWN work. Then have them rework the missed problems – this is where learning happens!

Option 2:

Have the student check and rework their problems and give some credit, not for correct problems but, for the work being done as a percentage of their total grade. 


30% of the total grade for homework (100% of this if they do and check all their problems)

70% of the total grade for tests

This option takes some pressure off the tests and incentive to do homework, however, if you follow our test grading guide that gives points back for corrections (again, where real learning happens), then the tests aren’t too pressured anyway. 

We also give our tests as open book tests. Math books are good resources and everything in there can’t be memorized as you continue on into higher math. You will need the resource. If you are not comfortable with open-book testing, you could allow them a “cheat sheet” or “note sheet” where they put down the formulas, theorems, and anything from the sections the test is on to use during the test. Even in college math, we were allowed a cheat sheet of a certain size (usually a large notecard or half 8.5×11 paper) for formulas or anything we wanted to put on it.

The goal is to know how to use all the math tools, not to keep the toolbox in your head with no understanding of what they do. 

Grading Tests

In our AskDrCallahan Teacher’s Guide, you will find a test grading guide (mentioned above) that allows for regaining points for reworked problems. 


Attempt # 1

     a)  Number of problems correct ___30___

     b) Total number of problems   ____50____

     c) Grade  (100*a/b)            ____60____(round up to nearest integer)

Attempt #2            

    d)  Number of problems fixed  ____10___

    e) Points added (70*d/b) ____14____(round up to nearest integer)

 Attempt #3           

    f) Number of problems fixed  ____8____

    g) Points added  (50*f/b)        ____8____(round up to nearest integer)

  Test Grade

    h) Final Grade  (c + e +g)      ____82____(round up to nearest integer)

You can find the test grading guide for your course on the Everything You Need page for your particular course. Click on the box below for your course. Scroll way down to the square that has your course name (looks just like the square below)  in it to download the FREE PDF and find the test grading guide after the syllabus.

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The Different Geometry Textbooks and Videos

The 3rd edition of the Harold Jacobs Geometry textbook has gone through three different printings with 3 different covers and ISBNs. If you are picking a text and looking at used options, it can be confusing. So let me try to help.

First, all 3 versions are basically the same – as long as they say 3rd edition. They look like the photos below.

The Three Geometry Textbook Versions that Still Work

The original published by Freeman – ISBN: 978-0-7167-4361-3 and the corresponding Teachers Guide which contains the solutions to the problems. This book had a separate Test Bank for tests. The second printing published by My Father’s World – ISBN: 978-1-61999-109-5 and the corresponding Teachers Guide which contained the tests and the Answer Key.

3rd Edition Jacobs Geometry


The third printing published by Master Books – ISBN: 9787-1-68344-020-8. This is the latest and if you are buying new, this is what you are getting. The tests are in the Teacher’s Guide and the answers are in the Solutions Manual. You will need all 3 books for the course.

Jacobs Geometry Curriculum








The Geometry Videos that Support the above Books

All 3 of the printings will work with the AskDrCallahan videos. The various printings have minor changes in page numbers, drawings, and some problems have changed – but the basic content remains the same. But, just to be more confusing, the videos come in 3 different packages. All are the same content but they might look different. All require the student to have one of the 3 textbooks, the tests, and a set of solutions.

1 – The online videos, offered by AskDrCallahan, contain the same instruction, and bypass the need for DVDs and a DVD player. They are the same content as on the DVD. The online videos come in two options.

  • Monthly option – Pay for the course monthly and cancel anytime by logging into your AskDrCallahan account (or email us to cancel). This option is perfect if you think you will need just a few months.
  • Lifetime access – If you need a full year, or have siblings who might use the course later, then this is your option. One price one time.

AskDrCallahan Jacobs Geometry







2 – The latest version of the DVDs is published by Master Books – UPC: 713438-110236-8










3 – The original DVDs published by us (AskDrCallahan) and no longer available new.  -ISBN:978-0-615-27810-0




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When your child is actually ahead, not behind.

I am used to having parents tell me that they think their kid is behind, missed something in 3rd grade, or has a suspected learning disability. That dialogue is almost always the first thing parents say when they are outlining why they need help from a math tutor. For some students, however, they do not need to be held back or to see a doctor. What they need is to move ahead and go on to the next step.

Continue reading When your child is actually ahead, not behind.

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MIT Makes videos for K-12 Students, and they are kind of awesome. (plus, unicorns!)

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When I find great resources, I like to share them on the blog for parents and educators who might be looking for just that tool. I do not have any professional affiliation with this product, I just like it, and I want to share with you things that will help make your education experience the best it can be, with hopefully the least amount of obstacles for you.

Continue reading MIT Makes videos for K-12 Students, and they are kind of awesome. (plus, unicorns!)

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Innovation in Life Starts with Higher Level Math in High School

Are you panicked about Calculus? Maybe it’s time to be more panicked about a world where no one builds bionic arms, solves environmental problems, or seeks a cure for cancer–because that’s the reality you’ll have if kids stop taking higher math in high school.
Continue reading Innovation in Life Starts with Higher Level Math in High School

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Real World Math | The Algebra of Planning a Road Trip

When you plan a road trip, you use math literally every step of the way. What you may not know, however, is the right math term for what you’re calculating. So today, I’m going to walk you through a few steps of planning a road trip so you can see how Algebra helps you get from point A to point B successfully. Continue reading Real World Math | The Algebra of Planning a Road Trip

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3-step project idea to help you learn why learning math is important

Around the world, education is not as often available as it is in more developed countries. Too many high school students that I work with here in the US take math education for granted. You see, a global perspective on mathematics and it’s place in the world is a problem we, as the adults, created–or at least allowed. Here’s what I think we can do to change that narrative and start a conversation that creates a better perspective on math and education in general.

Continue reading 3-step project idea to help you learn why learning math is important

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Raspberry Pi and A Robot Ferris Wheel you can build at home for less than $100

Some of the links in this article are affiliate links. We don’t carry in our shop all the materials you would need to complete this activity, so we use links to share with you the products you would want to use so that you can do this activity at home. Some of those links are affiliates and we will make a small percentage commission, at no additional cost to you, if you use our links to purchase your supplies.

Have you ever wanted to build your own Lego Ferris Wheel or Train and be able to control it like a robot? Now you can!–and BONUS it counts as a math class activity. Keep reading to find out how to do it and at the bottom I’ll show you where in your Algebra II with Trig course this activity would fall so you can schedule it in your lessons.

Continue reading Raspberry Pi and A Robot Ferris Wheel you can build at home for less than $100

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The Quadratic Equation

Where did all these formulas come from anyway?

All forms of math and science (including cooking, shopping, etc) are loaded with formulas. Formulas are nothing but a relationship between two different things.

The quadratic formula is one of the most well-known formulas in math – and one you will use again and again.

It is often interesting to see how formulas are derived. After all, it is very likely that you have, or will, have your own formulas you create for your hobbies or work.

Here is a great step-by-step explanation of how the quadratic formula is derived.