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Homework Guidelines


Homework Guidelines for Mathematics

Mathematics is a language, and as such it has standards of writing which should be observed. 

    Write your name and block (ie, W3 for white three) clearly at the top of at least the first page, along with the assignment number. If you are not stapling or paper-clipping the pages together, then put your name or initials on all the pages.

    Use standard-sized paper (8.5" x 11"), with no "fringe" running down the side as a result of the paper’s having been torn out of a spiral notebook.
    Clearly indicate the problem/exercise number you are doing.  

    Write out the problems (except in the case of word problems, which are too long).

    Write legibly (suitably large and suitably dark); if the grader can't read your answer, it's wrong.
    Keep work within the margins. If you run out of room at the end of a problem, please continue onto the next page. Use sufficient space for each problem, with at least one blank line between one problem and the next.

    Show your work. This means showing your steps, not just copying the question from the assignment, and then the answer from the back of the book. Show everything in between the question and the answer. Use complete English sentences if the meaning of the mathematical sentences is not otherwise clear. For your work to be complete, you need to explain your reasoning and make your computations clear.

    For tables and graphs clearly label the axes, the scale, and the points of interest. Use a consistent scale on the axes, and do a T-chart, unless instructed otherwise. Also, make your table or graph large enough to be clear. If you can fit more than three or four graphs on one side of a sheet of paper, then you're drawing them too small.

    Do not invent your own notation and abbreviations, and then expect the grader to figure out what you meant. For instance, do not use "#" in your sentence if you mean "pounds" or "numbers". Do not use the "equals" sign ("=") to mean "indicates", "is", "leads to", "is related to", or anything else in a sentence; use actual words. The equals sign should be used only in equations, and only to mean "is equal to".

    Do not do magic. Plus/minus signs, "= 0", radicals, and denominators should not disappear in the middle of your calculations, only to mysteriously reappear at the end. Each step should be complete.

    If the problem is of the "Explain" or "Write in your own words" type, then copying the answer from the back of the book, or the definition from the chapter, is unacceptable. Write the answer in your words, not the text's.

    Remember to put your final answer at the end of your work, and mark it clearly by, for example, underlining it. Label your answer appropriately; if the question asks for measured units, make sure to put appropriate units on the answer.. If the question is a word problem, the answer should be in words.

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