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Partial Credit Policy:

Since we are interested in the fundamental concepts of numerical methods, producing a correct numeric result is not the primary measure of success. Instead, the process that leads to the answer will play an important role in all the materials you turn in on problem sets and exams. A correct answer with an incorrect method or explanation will receive little credit, while a correct method with minor errors leading to an incorrect answer will receive more credit. 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. If you do not include an explanation of what you have done, you will lose points as well.

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. 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. If you can't do a problem, I will give you partial credit for saying "I don't know how to do this problem" and giving a brief explanation of what you think it is that you don't understand; the better your explanation, the more credit you will get.

In high-school, the grading practice frequently is to start with full credit and take points off for things that you do wrong. This is not the way I grade. In general, I will award points when you say something that is correct and take off points when you say something incorrect, and provide a final score that reflects the level of understanding exhibited in your write up of the problem. If you say some good things and some bad things, you may end up right back where you started. It is to your benefit to think carefully about what you say.

I will try to write lots of comments on your work before I turn it back. You should remember that this is to try to help you understand where you have made errors, so if there is a lot of red ink on your paper, try not to take this to mean that you are a terrible math student or a bad person. It is my job to make these kinds of comments, and it is the only way to learn where you need to work harder. Because of this, I spend most of my time writing about what you did wrong, so you may not see as many "good jobs" as you would like to see, and it may seem that I'm picking on you. Remember that I am trying to help you understand where your work is the weakest.

My marks have the following meanings:

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.

[HOME] Math 127 (Winter 2000) web pages
Created: 30 Dec 1998
Last modified: 31 Dec 1999 12:23:09
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