How Submissions Are Scored

We look for good problem solving and strong mathematical communication when reading submissions to our Problems of the Week. Your solution should include enough information to help another student understand the steps that you took and the decisions that you made in solving the problem.

Submissions are scored using the following categories:

Problem Solving
  • Interpretation: interpret the problem correctly and attempt to solve all of the parts.
  • Strategy: pick a good strategy and apply it well—achieve success through skill instead of luck.
  • Accuracy: get the calculations and details correct, including writing correct statements and equations.
  • Completeness: explain all the steps taken to solve the problem.
  • Clarity: explain the steps in such a way that a fellow student would understand, and make an effort to check formatting, vocabulary, and spelling.
  • Reflection: check the answer, reflect on its reasonableness, summarize the process, and connect it to prior knowledge and experience.

Submissions are scored using four levels of performance.

    Novice: "Just starting out"
    Apprentice: "On the right track, but not quite there"
    Practitioner: "Got it"
    Expert: "Wow! Above expectations in some way"

Scoring Grids

Mentors use a problem-specific grid to help them apply the rubric for each problem. General versions of the grid are available for each of our services. They are suitable for use with students and can be accessed from the following pages:


Getting Help and Feedback

We will have a limited amount of free mentoring available this year, mainly from volunteers and groups of pre-service teachers who are mentoring as part of their classes. If you are hoping to receive free mentoring, you will have a better chance of getting a response if you do the following:

  • First, check the box on the submission page that indicates that you would like free mentoring if it's available.
  • Then, use the Check Answer feature after submitting your solution to see if you're correct.
  • Finally, follow the rest of the instructions carefully, either revising your answer if you can improve it, or leaving us a comment that tells us how you did, or asks us for help with a specific part.

That all sounds like a lot of work, but it provides good information, and mentors can give you much better feedback this way. It may also help you to think more about your problem solving techniques and habits.

If a mentor scores your response, they'll also write some feedback that tells you how you did and will help you improve your submission. You'll get that feedback as an email message. That message will contain a URL that you can use to revise your answer or leave us some comments. Please revise your work if you receive a response! The greatest learning comes through revision. If you don't revise your work, you will be less likely to be picked to receive mentoring in the future.

To learn more about subscriptions for mentoring, please see our mentoring information page.

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