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# Math 99 Partial Credit Policy:

Since this course is about proof techniques, most of what you turn in will be proofs. Remember that a proof is an argument meant to convince other mathematicians of the truth of something, so that clarity and precision are crucial. It is not enough that you understand what you are talking about; it must be clear to others. Mathematics is a language, and your ability to use that language correctly is what will determine whether you are understood. Your ability to explain what you are doing will be taken into account in awarding partial credit; if I have to guess about whether you understood what you did, you will receive less credit.

Many students feel that it is better to say something, even if you know it is wrong, in hopes of getting some partial credit; however, this really makes you look like you don't know what you are doing, and you should avoid doing it. It is far better to admit that you don't know how to do a problem and get extra help from me, either from explanations that I write on your homework, or from coming to see me during office hours.

My marks have the following meanings:

• When you say something that I was looking for, I'll put a checkmark next to it to indicate this. Lots of checkmarks is a good thing. Some students have told me that in their high schools a check meant a mistake; here it means that something is correct, so don't be confused.

• If you say something particularly well, or say something perceptive or beyond the material that I expected you to get, I'll say "good job" or "nice observation" or some such thing. I do not say this simply because you got a problem right, but because you did something beyond what I expected.

• If I say "OK" rather than giving a checkmark, this means that I'm accepting what you say only grudgingly. Usually it means that what you said is true but that you have not fully explained it, or that there are subtleties that you have not seemed to grasp. It may also mean that there is a better way of saying this, or a better reason to use. It may also mean that what you say isn't quite true, but is wrong for technical or subtle reasons, though I'll let it pass. You may want to ask me more about why what you did isn't quite right.

As always, if you don't understand something that I've written on your paper, or if you can't read my writing, please come see me about it and I'll try to explain it.

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