Sunday, 2013-04-07

Show your work

My wife and her sisters were discussing the need to “show your work” when it comes to their kid’s math problems. They were of the opinion that it’s not needed, it’s enough to present the correct answer.

I’m not sure that this is a good idea, and that showing how you arrived at an answer is usually a valuable teaching method.

The importance of showing your work is increased at higher levels of education. I had a course in vector analysis during my first year at KTH where you could basically pass the exam by guessing that the answer was either zero or the null vector. Accordingly, each exam paper said that answers that didn’t show how you arrived at the answer would not get any credit.