Homework and Test Guidelines††††† Home

Mathematics is a language, and as such has standards of writing which should be observed. In a writing class, one must respect the rules of grammar and punctuation, one must write in organized paragraphs built with complete sentences, and the final draft must be a neat paper with a title.

Similarly, there are certain standards for mathematics assignments:

Please write your name clearly at the top of at least the first page, along with the page number(s).  If you are not stapling or paper-clipping the pages together, then put your name or initials on all the pages.

Please use standard-sized paper (8.5" x 11"), with no "fringe" running down the side as a result of the paperís having been torn out of a spiral notebook.  Use standard-weight paper, not onion-skin, construction, or otherwise abnormally thin or heavy paper.


Attach your pages with a paper clip or staple Do not fold, tear, spit on, or otherwise "dog-ear" the pages.  It is better that the pages be handed in loose (with your name on each sheet) than that the corners be folded or shredded.


Clearly indicate the number of the exercise you are doing.  If you accidentally do a problem out of order or separate part of the problem from the rest, then include a note to me about the missed problem or work. Write out the problem (except in the case of word problems, which are too long).

Do your work in pencil, with mistakes cleanly erased, not crossed or scratched out. Write legibly (suitably large and suitably dark); if I can't read your answer, it's wrong. 

Write neatly down the page, with each problem below the preceding one, not off to the right. You may have two columns per page spaced appropriately. You may work on the back of the page.


Keep work within the margins. If you run out of room at the end of a problem, please continue onto the next page; do not try to squeeze lines together at the bottom of the sheet.  Do not lap over the margins on the left or right; do not wrap writing around the notebook holes.


Do not squeeze the problems together, with one problem running into the next. Use sufficient space for each problem, with at least two blank lines between one problem and the next. 


Show your work.  This means showing your steps, not just copying the question from the book.  Show everything in between the question and the answer, but any work that is scribbled in the margins belongs on scratch paper, not on your homework. 


Put your final answer at the end of your work, and mark it clearly by, for example, circling it.  Label your answer appropriatelyIf the answer is to a word problem, make sure to put appropriate units on the answer.  For instance, if the problem involves money, then the answer should involve dollars or cents. 


In general, write your homework and test as though you're trying to convince someone that you know what you're talking about.


Your work is much easier to grade when you have made your work and reasoning clear, and any difficulties you have in completing the assignment can be seen. More importantly, however, completely worked and corrected homework exercises make excellent study guides for tests. Also, if students develop good habits while working on the homework, they generally perform better on the tests.

In summary, the intention on these "Homework and Test Guidelines" is that you and I communicate better, and that you succeed both in your present mathematics courses and in future mathematical communication with co-workers and clients.





Based on "Homework Guidelines",
Copyright C 1990-2005 Elizabeth Stapel,
Used By Permission