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What is the maths teacher expecting?

(26 Posts)
Emochild Thu 21-Apr-16 21:47:16


Show your working

What 'working' is the maths teacher expecting to see here?

we used to check this in bloody text book

titchy Thu 21-Apr-16 21:49:29

Expand it presumably? So 6x + 42.

HereIAm20 Thu 21-Apr-16 21:49:57

(6 x X) + (6 x 7)

6x + 42

Emochild Thu 21-Apr-16 21:56:17

Why can't they just write the answer?

titchy Thu 21-Apr-16 22:03:17

So when they do longer questions they're used to showing workings out and can get marks even if the final answer is wrong. Also so the teacher knows they're doing it right.

Haggisfish Thu 21-Apr-16 22:07:36

Yep. Agree with pp.

defunctedusername Thu 21-Apr-16 22:53:46

It does seem obvious but there are a lot of children who will not be able to work the answer out.
(6 x X) + (6 x 7)
6x + 42
If they get to that point they have learnt something.

For normal kids they might as well take a gap year, its all about being equal at the bottom. Differentiation is a swear word. Just get that C grade and fcuk the other children.

var123 Fri 22-Apr-16 01:12:10

I looked at the marking scheme for a GCSE maths paper a couple of weeks ago. For quite a few questions, knowing the answer wasn't enough - the student would get 0 marks without showing appropriate workings.

TBH I think its a good thing that the teacher is requiring your DC to show their workings.
Both my DC are very able at maths. They've been bored out of their minds in maths lessons for years. DS1's maths teacher told me at parent's night recently that she knows there is no challenge for him but she expects that there won't be until A level at the earliest. However, despite having lots of spare time to do "busy work" neither of them have learned out how to properly lay out their work in a way that is readable and which follows the commonly accepted principles and notation.
DS1 (year 9) is only being asked to develop this skill now but I think he should have been doing it for years - at least it would have given him something to focus on in maths lessons!

ThumbWitchesAbroad Fri 22-Apr-16 01:18:19

They shouldn't get 0 marks for not showing working if they have the correct answer, that's daft! I know that working is important, but having the correct answer is too, so they should get at least half a mark for having it.

What HereIAm wrote seems to be the way to do it.

var123 Fri 22-Apr-16 01:42:01

Maybe not, but unless I read the marking scheme wrong, they don't get anything for just writing in the correct answer. I thought it sounded odd but it said it simply enough and the questions that required workings were clearly marked.

Alasalas2 Fri 22-Apr-16 01:49:36

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Alasalas2 Fri 22-Apr-16 01:51:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

var123 Fri 22-Apr-16 02:46:39

I'm probably showing my naivety here but:
2) you didn't just use a calculator
3) you didn't cheat/copied/use Google/asked a mumsnetter

How could you just use a calculator to solve an algebraic problem? Surely once you've multpilied it out in your head and rearranged the equation, then the easy bit left is the only part you could possibly use a calculator for?

How exactly would you cheat/copied/use Google/asked a mumsnetter in an exam hall?

noblegiraffe Fri 22-Apr-16 07:41:31

Getting zero marks for the correct answer without working is usually on questions of the type 'show whether shop A or shop B is cheaper' in which case it's 50:50 as to whether picking shop A is correct. There'll be other types of questions like 'show the area of the shape is 36' where the answer is given in the question so only the working is important. Sometimes it's possible to get the correct answer from wrong working, so correct working is needed to be seen for those.

Most of the time a correct answer with no working will get full marks.

var123 Fri 22-Apr-16 08:19:31

getting the correct answer from wrong workings... isn't that otherwise known as a fluke? Or has maths become so prescriptive that there's only one way to get to the answer?

Badbadbunny Fri 22-Apr-16 08:22:42

One thing I've had to hammer in to my year 9 DS this year is to write and say the bleeding obvious in all his answers in all subjects, including writing out equations and every single step of a calculation, even if it was "obvious" to him!

He was starting to get annoyed at, what he thought, was unjust down-marking of progress tests, not just in Maths, but in other subjects too. In his mind, he knows it and was getting it right, and it was really demotivating him. Unfortunately, the school have a policy of not allowing the test papers out of the classroom, so I was working blind as to the problem. After a particularly poor (for him) Physics test, I contacted the teacher and insisted on sight of the test paper so I could see what was going wrong. As soon as I saw it, it was bleeding obvious - that's exactly what he was missing - the simple stuff! He was reading too much into the questions and answering in too much detail missing the basics and with equations/calculations, most were so simple, he could do the calculations almost by instinct, i.e. 50 metres in 10 seconds, what velocity?

So, problem identified within a few seconds, and it's something I've been really working on when I've been helping him with revision or homework and latter tests are showing far higher scores!

In English, for example, he'd be set a homework to compare and contrast two poems, and he'd spend a massive amount of time and get really stressed trying to analyse and interpret them, and whilst he'd get a good mark, it was always only 80% or so, he just couldn't break into the really high marks. So, after seeing what was going wrong in Maths & Physics in particular, I got him to start saying the bleeding obvious in English too, i.e. simple things like that poem A rhymed and poem B didn't, and, ker-ching, 90%+ marks now!!!

Couldn't believe that none of his teachers have highlighted the real problem and just let him carry on making the same fundamental mistake year after year in virtually all subjects!

Alasalas2 Fri 22-Apr-16 08:31:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

var123 Fri 22-Apr-16 08:34:44

Badbadbunny - they probably did but not in words that would connect with him.

e.g. they probably told the class generally several times over the preceding months and went through the tests with the whole class saying something like:- question 6: one mark for doing this first step, a second mark for anyone of the next two possible steps and three marks for taking the whole thing to a conclusion and delivering the correct answer.

Then your DS would look at what he did and think step 1 is implied in my answer and I couldn't have got any further without it, so I don't know why I don't have full marks.

Teachers don't seem to have time to take a holistic approach for individuals pupils who are doing reasonably well or better, so the child either figures it for themselves or their parent finds the problem and fixes it (or the child is left wondering why knowing how to get the correct answer and being able to do it every time isn't enough).

noblegiraffe Fri 22-Apr-16 10:12:20

getting the correct answer from wrong workings... isn't that otherwise known as a fluke

Very occasionally there will be a question like 'work out the area of this compound shape' and the answer is 17 but you could coincidentally also get 17 by adding all the sides - in that case the mark scheme would say to double check that the correct answer came from correct working. (The answer on its own with no working shown would be assumed to be correct).

noblegiraffe Fri 22-Apr-16 10:13:31

Teachers don't seem to have time to take a holistic approach for individuals pupils

With 32 in a class I definitely don't have time for an individual holistic approach!

var123 Fri 22-Apr-16 10:33:14

I wasn't criticising, Noblegiraffe!

irvineoneohone Sat 23-Apr-16 09:52:09

Showing working is good, but is it always necessary? Some children do part of it in their head, and some in writing. As long as answer is correct, it's ok, isn't it?
At least that's what I used to do. When you know 5 x 8 = 40, you don't need to write down 5 x 8 = 40, do you?

My ds is in YR3, and his home work this week is to do addition 3digits+ 3didits.
It says show working by using expanding method. He doesn't need to use expanding method to do addition. But since school asks, I would let him do it this way, separating 100s and 10s and 1s and adding them, but it's to help children who hasn't got carrying properly yet? So children who can do calculation with simple column method, why do they need to go back and show the background how column method works? I think it's totally pointless.

noblegiraffe Sat 23-Apr-16 10:15:35

When we tell students in secondary maths to show their working it's not because we want them to do all their working out on paper even if they can do it in their head, it's because at a higher level maths is about presenting a logically worked solution to a problem and also because if they write down how they got an answer and it's wrong, we can see where and help them.

Students get confused and think that writing on paper is only necessary when they can't do it in their head. Persuading them that they even need to write down what they typed into a calculator if they used a calculator is an ongoing battle.

ShanghaiDiva Sat 23-Apr-16 12:42:43

It's useful for student to start showing their working at an early age. Once you get to A level maths there are marks awarded for method and you can pick up a lot of marks even if the final answer is wrong. It's also useful for teachers to see exactly what is going wrong. DS is taking A level maths and his teacher often says to him - that he has made exactly the same mistake on each question - very easy to correct and off you go! Presenting the work logically and underlining the final answer with two line is also a nice habit to get into smile

irvineoneohone Sat 23-Apr-16 13:50:49

Thank you noblegiraffe and ShanghaiDiva. I agree, they need to show process of how they came to an answer. And I do encourage ds to do this normally.
But this week's homework of making simple 3digits addition into expanding method seemed pointless to me. And there's like 30 of them. I would have been happy, if the question was asking to explain why he got the answer to show working on some questions, so teacher can check if he is doing correctly or not.

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