Jonathan wrote: < Most teachers make the mistake of taking the other extreme: not requiring students to show any work at all. In fact, those teachers often use just multiple-choice exams or other exams in which they look at just the "final" answers to grade them. >
This is a charter school and all classes are considered honors level. They are rabid about showing work. To my intense frustration, my kids are writing out steps like dividing or multiplying by 1. I talked to the teacher about it and she said they didn't have to, but the fact that they get marked down for what appears to be arbitrary omissions makes them err on the side of caution and write everything down, sometimes erasing and rewriting several times because something went too far into a margin, or they put a problem on the wrong side, etc. Which takes away from the learning.
2. < I suspect that this teacher is more attentive to grammar and spelling >
Good guess. All answers to word problems have to be stated in complete, grammatically correct sentences. I don't object to this, however. My accounting professor in college assigned essays that were grade like English papers b/c he believed the ability to communicate in writing was as important as the accounting we were learning. Gosh, the belly-aching over those assignments! But that has value.