Search All of the Math Forum:
Views expressed in these public forums are not endorsed by
NCTM or The Math Forum.



rounding and significant figures in calculations
Posted:
Jul 24, 2000 3:43 PM


Greetings! As administrator for the Trig/Calculus Problem of the Week, the following issue came up last year in regard to rounding and significant figures. If you take a look in the archives at a particular problem, you may notice that some students round their answers and others give every single digit that their calculator displays. Well, which way is right and which way is best? Below is an excerpt from an email that I received on the topic.
>Do you apply significant digits to the problem of the week? I did >when I evaluated some of the solutions and came to a different >solution on the mall question than you did. This is a school and >state wide standard that we have been concentrating on this year. If >the POW is not going to follow this convention then I will tell the >students.
I usually do not count a solution as wrong when significant digits has not been used. My reason is that not all students may be familiar with significant digits.
What are your thoughts on this topic? Also, does your state and/or school have a standard that relates to significant digits?
Leigh Nataro Trig/Calc Problem of the Week Coordinator



