65 votes
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Is it worth grading calculus homework?

The evidence says no What research I'm aware of is all about how giving any overall data about their own performance is actively harmful in promoting further learning. They learn considerably more ...
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  • 1,912
46 votes
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How to deal with a "protest" assignment?

You need to slam him on the grade. That is what he earned. Don't be so easily manipulated by his comments on your teaching. Also I would not have sent an email apology. Just offered to meet with ...
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  • 484
38 votes
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How to solve the problem of Wolfram Alpha?

First of all, I believe this question is quite similar to the question "How to give homework for integration technique?". I avoid the temptation of repeating my answer for that question. Instead, I ...
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  • 4,316
27 votes

How to solve the problem of Wolfram Alpha?

Imagine you had to look up every word you wanted to use, because you had a poor vocabulary. This would get old, very quickly. The trouble is, many people don't have a genuine need to internalize ...
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  • 5,877
21 votes
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Do you have an efficient way to view student responses to remote assignments allowing them to type math symbols and steps? (Middle + High school)

In a Google doc, one can "Insert/Equation" (marked by $\pi^2$). Then tiny pull-down menus appear in a top bar: Using these menus, I just typed this nonsense:      
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16 votes
Accepted

Midterm in Mathematics Courses

"Cheating Lessons" by James M. Lang argues (and has many references to back up) the claim that smaller, more frequent, lower stakes assessment both improves student learning outcomes and decreases the ...
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16 votes

Do you have an efficient way to view student responses to remote assignments allowing them to type math symbols and steps? (Middle + High school)

Consider to just review scanned or photographed handwritten homework. Yes, this is not as easy as looking at typed work, but consider: would you require typed work normally? So why now? If your ...
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  • 235
13 votes
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Exam philosophy

Since you remark that your question is "deliberately non-specific," here is a (necessarily) incomplete response: First are two links to documents about assessment that might be of interest, and then ...
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13 votes
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Separating the roles of "teacher" and "assessor"

A question that occurs with a project like this (broader than one department, as you put it) would be: Who is qualified to make those assessments? Probably not any other department at a particular ...
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13 votes

How to deal with a "protest" assignment?

I am not a mathematics educator but I feel the need to chime in from the student side of this. I have taken numerous hard math classes during my BSc, and I have had my fair share of feeling hopeless, ...
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  • 231
12 votes

Teaching arithmetic operations ($+ - \times \div$) to a 3 year old

My immediate response is 'wait a few years'. I've spent a fair amount of time with 3 year olds, and most of them are busy learning how to be a person in their own right, how to have a conversation, ...
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  • 5,540
12 votes

How to solve the problem of Wolfram Alpha?

It doesn't exactly solve the problem, but one way to make positive use of Wolfram would be to use some Wolfram Demonstration Projects. There are some that attempt to gamify calculus calculation ...
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  • 5,540
12 votes

The Undergraduate Responsibility Gradient

Here's another too-long comment posted as an answer: We tell undergraduate students that they should study two to three hours for every hour they spend in class. We know that many students don'...
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10 votes
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Asking students to define "unique"

To avoid misinterpretations, I'd give it to them in a mathematical sentence and ask them to explain what they believe 'unique' means in this context. For lack of knowing where you are in the course, ...
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  • 3,477
9 votes

Grading homework problems on completion vs. correctness, and overall grading

There's a compromise between "correctness" and "completion" called "Standards-based grading". Here's a few links about it with various people who have tried using it for Calculus: http://blogs.cofc....
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  • 1,950
9 votes

Project/Assessment based on Flatland for Secondary Geometry Class

The book goes into detail giving the two-dimensional cross-sections of a sphere. You could ask the class to find the cross-sections of a cube or of another 3D object more complex than a sphere. It ...
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  • 2,496
9 votes

How to design multiple choice questions

Personally in my own math courses, I have found that the gold-standard is to have an advance cycle of short-answer responses, document the most common student responses, and then turn those into the ...
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9 votes

Efficient methods to receive and grade online mathematics assessments?

If you have access to a device capable of touch input (like a tablet), then I would highly recommend using a stylus to annotate the pdf document. It should take almost the same time as if you were ...
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8 votes
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Requiring basic skills to pass a course without increasing their grading weight

The notion of "gateway" (exam or other thresh-hold) is not universal, and generates some conflicts, but addresses the issue head-on. That is, throughout a course (perhaps at the beginning, but this is ...
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  • 13.5k
8 votes

Is every number a multiple of one?

Welcome to the site, Donna. I hope you find my answer helpful to your situation. Please let us know if there's another aspect of the situation you'd like to think about with our help. Test question: "...
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  • 17.3k
8 votes

How to solve the problem of Wolfram Alpha?

You can also use Wolfram Alpha to look up definitions of words. So by reductive reasoning, there is no need for infants to learn vocabulary because when they are old enough to use a smartphone, people ...
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  • 7,585
8 votes

How do you incorporate the results from a final exam into evidence of learning in a valid and justifiable way (i.e. grade determination)?

I have always found this to be an extremely hard proposition in the US system of grading (hw + 2-3midterms + final=Grade). All of the systems I've seen were imperfect, but some were better than ...
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  • 906
8 votes
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What do you look for in a student presentation?

I have students present (in classes ranging from grades 7 to 12) and use the following rubric. It is not original, and googling various snippets suggests to me that it has been pieced together from ...
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8 votes

How to design multiple choice questions

Use them for what they're best at testing, like conceptual understanding questions. One way to do this is by having students evaluate statements they would never be expected to come up with on their ...
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  • 1,881
8 votes

Teaching undergraduates who expect a high-school-like learning environment

I find class voting/clickers a good way to get students used to thinking about conceptual stuff. In fact, I often frame my lectures around three progressively more challenging conceptual questions. ...
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  • 2,916
8 votes

Should we assess ability to use specific problem solving methods, or general ability to solve problems?

As a fellow college algebra (et. al.) instructor, I think that knowing specific methods is a necessary thing to confirm. That's what I do on my tests. If you want and have time to add yet another ...
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7 votes

How to assess an undergraduate mathematics program?

Two questions from Lynn Arthur Steen are perhaps not addressed frequently, but seem important to me: (1) Are students learning how to use mathematics in other subjects? Do students recognize ...
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7 votes

How to solve the problem of Wolfram Alpha?

Show your students some simple questions that Wolfram Alpha cannot answer. Wolfram Alpha currently cannot satisfactorily answer some problems stated in words. For example, the query "find the ...
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7 votes

The Undergraduate Responsibility Gradient

I think that your point here is spot on: "Qualitatively, colleagues have noticed that when faculty over-organize student work, students continue to expect this and don't take on adequate ...
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  • 1,109

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