In Math, being able to solve an equation is the first level in developing your Math intelligence, involving only the simple understanding of rules and when to apply them. By being able to clearly explain what and why certain steps are involved in solving an equation, and by modeling or illustrating how an equation or problem is solved in more than one way, you will truly understand Math applications. For most of us, this means having to relearn Math. Welcome to Math As A Second Language (MSA).
When I first started teaching Math, I realized that I used the explanation It's just the rule we need to follow in order to solve the problem correctly far too often. I mainly used it in situations where a student would ask me "Why do we have to do it that way?" After a while of me trying to explain the reason(s) the student would say I don't get it, or even better, But why? So out of frustration in not being able to properly explain why (at least not so anyone but myself understood) I'd say, "It's just a rule we need to follow." Why? Because that was the way I was taught, and by blindly following the rules I'd get A's and B's on tests. And that's all any student really wants, right?
Unfortunately, high letter grades don't necessarily mean that I'm good at Math. They just mean I know how to follow rules. Which makes me think… "I really ain't good at Math!" And that, oddly enough, makes me happy because I love a challenge, and I love to learn.
"I really ain't good at Math" is a statement written and spoken using poor English grammar skills. Ain't it? On a rubric, that statement would be at about the Minimally Meets Expectations category. And that's the overall mark I'd give myself even if I'm able to achieve A's and B's on simple "solve the equation" tests.
So, from now on, these are my rules. In order to Fully Meet Expectations in MSL, a student's statement of understanding would be something like, I am very good at Math. I can clearly explain and show my Math thinking, and am able to demonstrate how Math concepts and applications work in order to solve equations using a model or illustration. In order to Exceed Expectations in MSL, a student's statement of understanding would be I have a sophisticated understanding of Math. I can clearly explain my Math thinking, and am able to cleary demonstrate, by using more than one model, table or illustration, how Math concepts and applications work in order to solve equations.
Welcome to Level 3 and 4!
Your Basic Math Intelligence Rubric
Level 1 - You can correctly use Math applications, but you're not sure why you apply them, or you can't explain how and why clearly enough
Level 2 - You can explain how you need to use certain Math applications and apply those rules to the equation at hand, but you can't explain why
Level 3 - You can clearly explain and show your Math thinking, and are able to demonstrate how and why Math concepts and applications work in order to solve equations using a model or illustration.
Level 4 - You can clearly explain your Math thinking, and are able to cleary demonstrate, by using more than one model, table or illustration, how and why Math concepts and applications work in order to solve equations