MA 105: Selected Topics in Mathematics
Midterm Paper Rubric

Instead of a final exam you will be doing a poster presentation on a decision you made using quantitative reasoning. Your midterm assignment is to write a short (three to five page) paper describing the data you collect, your analysis of the data, and the decision you reach. (Your topic will have been chosen shortly before spring break; if you wish to change topics you should send email to with your new topic.)

Your paper should start with an introductory paragraph which describes the decision you will make and why the quantities you are studying are appropriate for making that decision. The body of the paper should contain an easy to read display of the data you collected, a discussion of your thoughts about the data (e.g. "The Prius gets excellent gas mileage but costs twice as much as the Aveo.") and a description of how you reached your final decision (e.g. "I added the cost of gas and a hotel room to the cost of weekend lift tickets and chose the ski area with the lowest total cost.") Your paper should end with a conclusion which gives the decision you made and summarizes your reasons for making that decision.

You may include other information in your paper; the outline above describes the minimum expected.

You will be graded on your spelling and grammar and your resources should be properly cited (I recommend the MLA style described on the BSC Library website). If you have any doubts about the quality of your paper please make an appointment at the Writing Studio in the basement of Maxwell Library to review a rough draft of your paper. (For best results, bring this grading key with you!)

Your project proposal grade will be based on three features: quantity of information presented, quality of information presented, and quality of presentation. Each feature will be graded on a scale of 0 to 4. Your final grade will be the sum of these three numbers. Note that it is possible to score 12 points on this paper. A grade of 9 is an "A" but students whose work is truly exceptional may score over 9. The grading rubric is given below.

Score Quantity Quality Presentation
0 Little or no information presented. Information presented is false. Paper is difficult or impossible to read.
1 The decision made is between fewer than three options, only one value is studied, or the values being studied are unknown for most of the options. Citations aren't adequate to locate the data presented. The paper contains more than 5 sentence fragments, misspelled words or illegible words, omits introduction, data, discussion or conclusin, or fails to describe the author's decision making process.
2 The decision made is between fewer than four options, or the two values being studied are unknown for many of the options. Data collected is from biased sources and the author makes no allowance for this fact, or the data otherwise not useful for decision making (e.g. some prices include tax and some don't.) Topic is clear but there are 5 or more grammatical or spelling errors or 2 or 3 sentence fragments or illegible words, or author's decision making process is unclear.
3 At least four options are considered; two variables are considered and the values of these variables are known for each option. Data collected appears reliable, pertinent and unbiased; citations are usable. Paper moves from introduction through discussion to conclusion with few or no errors in spelling or grammar.
4 All relevant options are considered carefully; any data needed beyond the values of the two variables is also presented and discussed. Data sources are well documented and clearly sufficient (e.g. prices are current rather than taken from a dated article.) Paper is well written, interesting and informative.