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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.

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.

Example:

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.

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

Example:

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)

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

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## Homework Help Complex Problems – Moving Deeper into Concepts

As you move deeper into each textbook (Algebra, Geometry, Algebra 2 w/Trig, Calculus, etc), the problems will contain several concepts you’ve learned earlier – all in one problem.  This complexity can make it difficult to find the “how-to” or examples in the book to help us understand how to work it.

Recently, we received this question from our student support page: “There doesn’t seem to be any examples or teaching that I can find that helps me solve this problem.”

This is a common question – not this particular problem, but in general, as the problems develop into including several simple concepts stacked into compound calculations. However, the explanations are there, they just may be back a few, or several, chapters.

For example, Jacobs Algebra Chapter 12 Summary and Review Problem 14h.

Concepts include but are not limited to:

• Chapter 12: Square Roots. Simplify radical as much as possible. Example of this step page 480-481
• Chapter 5: Equations in One Variable. Specifically for this review problem, Equivalent Equations (Lesson 3) page 162-163.
• Chapter 12: Square Roots: Radical Equations. Page 505 has examples of squaring both sides to eliminate the radical.

Math builds on itself. As you learn more and more concepts, the problems reach back and build on concepts and analyzing skills learned earlier in the book or even in an earlier course. These complex problems can be hard to find “how-to” when we just can’t see it! The solutions manual is a good resource to help with steps, but sometimes even with those steps, we need to see where it was explained or taught.

We are here to help! Send us your homework questions and let us help. Go to our support page for help. Be sure to include the 5 points below. These points make sure you’ve told us what we need to know to help you.

## Be sure to tell us:

1. the course,
2. the chapter,
3. the lesson,
4. the problem,
5. YOUR issue as best as you can explain it.

We love to help.

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## How to Evaluate Math Textbooks and Material

Steps to evaluate a math textbook:

1. Make sure the basic material is covered. Look at the outlines below as a guide. The wording and chapter arrangement may be different, but you should see these key ideas in the contents.