How to Mark Math Scripts?

        By Vic Odarve

Examinations in Mathematics are usually given as problems or exercises. In order to assess their acquired skills, lecturers are not concerned with the memorized facts; instead, they are particular on the details of the solutions on how they arrive in their final answer.

Marking Mathematics scripts soon to follow after the examination

Marking the scripts to follow soon.

Marking Mathematics scripts soon to follow after the examination  In most cases during the final exam, partial credit is available if the solution leads to the correct answer. And the credit depends largely on the judgment of the marker. Points or credits depend on the magnitude of the committed error. This is the same thing for marking essays or discussion types of examinations.

Giving partial points or credits must be above all fair to all students. If the error is near the completion of the correct answer, more points compare to the one committed at earlier stages. Your experience and understanding will guide on how much points or marks you have to give. In some cases, students may get the final correct answer but still the deduction of points is done due to careless or stupid mistakes along the way. Common errors are on algebraic signs, unclear steps of presentation of the details of the solution leading to its final answer.

But in reality more unexpected things in the scripts meet your eyes. Especially on giving partial credits! Sometimes mind-boggling! Several scenarios will crop up. How do you give a partial credits or marks if the mistakes of two or more students are the same? And you discover that they have the same steps of solution from the beginning to end? The scripts are like a photocopy! And what will you do if you come across with correct answer but somewhere along the way of his solution are big mistakes or some of the important steps that supposedly precede the next step are missing? It turns out to a big mess! You will be likened to an archeologist deciphering ancient scripts!  Your judgment and long years of teaching experience come into play! That is to give partial credit or not to give! It largely depends on you! By giving partial points to the imperfect solutions, this does not mean we encourage the students to achieve this kind of attitude. Giving credits simply means measuring or recognizing their acquired skill level.

In real works, a small mistake in a solution sometimes results to astronomical disaster! It might be in thousands or millions of dollars in rework and other related expense! Remember what happens to the Hubble telescope? This is a giant project that gives us the confirmation on black hole existence, improves the calculation of the rate at which galaxies are receding from our Milky Way, and gives the best view images from colliding galaxies in our cosmic ocean. The first picture in space was delay simply due to math error! According to some scientists, a simple mistake in arithmetic–an addition instead of a subtraction! Hence, a tremendous repair was made in space! Marking math scripts is troublesome to many lecturers. Students are sometimes making magic to their solutions and you will be tempted to give or not to give partial credits!   Partial points or credits work only in classroom instruction. The real works need perfection! This is the time that mathematical solution will not be marked.

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