Homework Format and Grading


You can lose points for not following any of the requirements listed in this document
Abbreviations used in grading ("!"s are optional)
Work is out of order!
Work needs to be neater!
Work needs to be clearer!
Come see me and explain your work!
Identify your answers!
Too Many Significant Figures!
Math Error!
Very Good!

X and Checks

Xs indicate something is wrong
Checks indicate that something was done correctly.
Occasionally, an answer is crossed out (an X), but a check appears to its right.  This indicates that the method was correct, but one or more of the input values or calculations was incorrect.
You may use any type of paper, as long as it is clean and does not interfere with the legibility of your work.  Other professors may require engineering paper, I don't.
Writing Implement
I prefer pencil, as mistakes can be neatly erased.  You can use pen, but you'll lose points if your work is messy.
Name, course, and homework assignment
Your entire name should appear on the back of the last page, in the upper right corner. Underneath, write the course name and homework assignment.  You may also  put your name on the back of other pages, but its not required.  Don't put any identifying marks on the front of any page.
Date and Page Number
Top center of front of each page:  Date (Month/Day/Year)
Top right of front of each page:   Page Number (#/Total #)
Order and Answer Identification
Problems and pages must be submitted in numerical order.  The parts of each problem must also be submitted in order (numerically or alphabetically).  Answers must be identified, either underlined or boxed.
Neatness and Clarity
Your work must be neat and presented in such a way that your solution method is clear.  Work that is messy and/or difficult for the grader to follow will receive a grade of (a) zero, if the numerical answer is wrong or (b) no more than half of the total possible score, if the numerical answer is correct.  In the case of (b) you may be asked to explain your answer orally.
If you are using a Figure (data plotted on orthogonal axes) to estimate numbers, it must be (a) large (fill a complete page), (b) drawn with care using ruler, French curve, computer, etc., and (c) drawn on graph paper (at least engineer's paper, but often closer lines are required).
Guidance Concerning Solving Problems and Presenting Your Solutions Neatly and With Clarity
    1. Read the problem.
    2. Think about it, make sure you understand (a) the system described by the problem and (b) the desired answer(s).
    3. Consider possible solution methods, then solve the problem on SCRAP paper, using drawings and/or writing down appropriate equations and what is known and unknown. You may not need to obtain the final answer, but you should at least map out your solution method.
    4. On "good" paper, write down the word problem, then draw a neat figure (unless absolutely not needed or appropriate).  Next to or underneath this figure, write down the given information.  Indicate the source of any given information that is not from the problem description, e.g., data from a Table in the course text.
    5. Write down any equation you use first in variable and standard form, e.g., F = ma, then solve for the appropriate unknown (still using just variables), e.g., a = F/m.  Finally, insert numbers and  determine the numerical answer.
    6. Variables and values should not appear out of "thin air".  Variables must be standard or defined in the problem.  Values must come from the list of givens, an identified outside source, or a calculation using an appropriate equation.  Diagrams are often useful in defining variables, especially lengths.
    7. State any important assumptions.