University of Wisconsin–Madison

PROBLEM REPORT AND REFLECTION RUBRICS FOR WRITING IN MATH

Jamie Sutherland, Math 130

A good part of your Math 130 grade is determined by your writing five problem reports and eight reflections. These two types of assignments are intended to help you practice thinking and communicating about mathematics in complementary ways. While the problem reports allow you to think deeply about one particular problem and communicate fully and in specific language the solution to that problem, the reflections allow you to step back and look at the broader picture, fitting what you’ve been doing in the class with the rest of mathematics learning. To help you with your writing, I give you these rubrics which I will be using to grade your papers. Use them as a guide for what to write and how to structure your writing as well as a check-list to determine if you’ve done the work necessary to get the points. A word of caution: I can be picky, and spelling and grammar do count. For best results, or if you have any doubts about your paper, consult the Writing Center in Helen C. White.

In general, problem reports should be between 3-5 pages including a paragraph description of the problem, 1-2 pages for the description of methods, and at least one page for the explanation of the solution. Reflections should be between one and two pages and the format is loose, depending on individual preferences. All papers should be typed up using a reasonablesized font (12-point or so) and double spaced. Hand-drawn equations, diagrams, and tables are all fine.

A final note: Although the rubrics do not state it outright, form, style, and presentation are all essential to a well-written paper. Spend some time thinking about the organization of the material (it doesn’t have to go: problem, methods, solution, analysis. You can sneak the solution in earlier on if it makes the paper easier to read). Most of all, making it interesting may be the best way to motivate you to write about a problem you’ve already solved. Try reading it out loud to your roommate to see if they can follow it without going cross-eyed or falling asleep.