I spent most of the day grading extended problem solving papers. The school at which I teach is using a reform math curriculum. There are Problems of the Week (POW’s) which are problems (usually topics in discrete mathematics) which require the students to write an extended response including: rephrasing the problem in their own words, describing the process they used, stating and defending their solution, and evaluating the problem.
Most students did a nice job of systematically approaching the problem (looking for patterns and making generalizations). I was, however, surprised by the number of students that misread the problem. A few thought it said, “when placed into groups of 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 there was at least one left over” – the problem said one left over. Needless to say, this changed the way they attacked the problem. Another issue was students putting additional constraints on the problem that weren’t there to begin with.
This was after we had read the problem as a class, had a discussion about the constraints, they completed a homework assignment explaining why the answer was not 49, and discussed the problem the next day.
So my questions are:
1) How do you handle reading in a mathematics classroom?
2) How do you deal with grading extended response problems? I’m thinking of the time commitment involved in providing meaningful feedback, even when using a rubric (insights from any English teachers out there would be appreciated).
The person trying to figure out how to remain anonymous and yet still have a name.