Math Thought--Math 120
Guidelines for Submitting Homework Assignments
Last modified 1/31/99
Your homework solutions should be neat, organized, easy to read, and
otherwise beautiful, for several reasons.
When you've put a lot of effort into
something, you should show that you're proud of it. Moreover,
recopying and organizing helps clarify and organize the material in
But homework not
only serves the purpose of practicing mathematical
thought--it also can be extremely helpful in studying for the
exams. If the problem is summarized beforehand, and if your solution is
clear, sensible and easy to read,
you can easily study from it. If it is at all messy, or if you leave
too many details out, or if it is illogical, you will find it useless.
Those are the main reasons. Less importantly, there are
schmooze-factors to be taken into account:
you will want me to realize the effort you're putting into the class
and how interesting you find the material, and of course, we all want me to be in a
good mood when
Because this takes extra time, (as well as for other reasons), I do
not collect all of the homework. I suggest, however, that you get in
the habit of keeping all of your homework neat, legible, and
organized. This is an extremely useful skill that applies to life
beyond math, and more concretely,
will help study, come exam time.
To all of these ends, I have put together some guidelines.
As I've said, following these guidelines will
not only make the grading easier for me, but also makes your papers more
useful to you in the future. If you do not follow them, I may return
your homework ungraded.
Save your homework once it has been returned
to you! It can be an invaluable study tool.
- Staple your papers together.
Please do not fold over the corners in the vain hope that
this will keep your assignment together.
It will only get
caught up with other assignments, not to mention making your
You put a lot of effort into it--make it look like it!
- Recopy your work.
Your solutions should make sense, and have no
- Do not try to fit your entire solution onto one page.
While the trees would undoubtedly benefit from your economy,
my eyes do not.
Please leave space between each problem.
Space is also a good tool for separating various thought
processes within a problem.
On top of that, it gives me room to make comments.
- Work to make your homework handsome and readable.
It is much more pleasant for me when I grade homework
that is easy to read.
One way to do this is to use pencil
rather than pen.
If you must use pen, only use one side of
(Feel free to use the clean side of paper that's
been once through the printer.)
- Before the solution to each problem, state or summarize the
Without this, your homework is
useless for studying.
With a summary,
and with the data included, your homework becomes a very useful
- Give the entire solution, not just the answer!
It is the thought process which is important.
Explain your work, using a combination of
and complete sentences.
Answers like ``yes'', ``53'', or ``A wins'' will receive
little or no credit,
whether the answers are
right or not.
This is uninformative, doesn't reinforce the
ideas in your head, doesn't let me know whether
you understand or are simply guessing, and is useless to you
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