MATH 191, Sections 1 and 3
Calculus I
Fall 2007
Assessing the Quality
of Math Writing: The Four Cs
So you’ve got to write a math paper? As such, as a very reasonable question is
what makes a math
paper
good
?
It might help you as you’re writing to keep an eye on four factors:
Correctness, Completeness, Clarity, and Composition.
When assessing the quality of the writing you produce for this class, I will focus on each of these factors
equally, and grades for your work will be assigned accordingly, with equal weight placed on each.
Thus, it’s worth our time in examining each factor more carefully, indicating what an Alevel paper
might look like, or a Blevel paper, and so on. Before doing so, however, I should note that all four of
these factors are important considerations in writing of
any
kind, so they’re good things to keep in mind
as you begin writing projects in courses other than ours.
Correctness.
This is the factor you’re likely most familiar with in math classes: many students ask, “does it
matter how I did it, if I ended up with the right answer?” Finding the right answer is crucial, and
it’s important to be sure you never write anything wrong. Thus everything you write should be
correct: are your equations right? Do your formulas say what you claim that they say? Have you
made sure your proofs are free of mathematical and logical errors?
•
Alevel writing
will be totally free of factual and logical errors, aside from a minor arith
metical or algebraic mistake every now and then.
•
Blevel writing
will be mostly free of factual and logical errors, though minor computational
errors may occur more regularly than in Alevel work, and there may be one or two minor
logical mistakes arising through sloppiness.
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 Fall '07
 BAHLS
 Math, Calculus, Writing, Passive voice, Correctness, Pilcrow, Composition studies

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