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Expectations Regarding Recitations

By the Mathematics Department at Ohio University

These guidelines are intended to help us:

  1. Use the recitations effectively.
  2. Treat our Teaching Assistants (TAs) who run the recitations fairly.

Please send suggestions for improvement to

What Happens in the Recitation

Acceptable activities for recitations include:

  • Working through homework problems with the students.
  • Group work (with the TA actively supervising).
  • Quizzes.

Recitation may not consist exclusively of a TA working homework problems for the students. We suggest a combination of all three activities. For instance a single recitation might consist of:

  1. Do two homework problems.
  2. Do two problems as group work.
  3. Give a one problem quiz.

Teaching Assistant Expectations

  • Speak respectfully and supportively of the Instructor and other TAs in front of students at all times.

TA Duties Outside the Recitation

Duties outside class may include:

  • Holding office hours.
  • Preparing for recitation.
  • Grading group work.
  • Grading quizzes.
  • Assisting the grading of a mid-term exam.
  • Assisting the grading of the final exam.

Total Workload Expectations and Limitations

Each recitation is nominally 3 hours of work per week, roughly divided as:

  • 1 hour for the recitation itself,
  • 1 hour of office hours, and
  • 1 hour of additional work, such as grading.

This time limit includes special activities such as grading a mid-term exam. During finals week, a TA will be expected to participate in the grading of the final, but for no more than 2 hours per recitation. This will typically mean that they only grade one problem per recitation hour.

A TA appointment is for 15 hours per week. TA's should keep up with their hours, and notify the Instructor immediately if they find that they cannot complete tasks in under the 15 hour per week limit. If the Instructor persists in assigning too much work, the TA must promptly notify the graduate chair.

Instructor Expectations

  • Keep in mind that the TA's primary purpose is to be a successful graduate student.
  • Speak respectfully and supportively of the TAs in front of students at all times.
  • Instruct students to use the TA office hours only for help on homework assignments. All other inquiries about the course should be directed to the Instructor.
  • Minimize preparation time for the TAs by deciding e.g. the questions for a quiz and activities for group work.
  • Design quizzes or group work to be graded by a TA so that they should take no more than 1 hour of grading/recording time per recitation.
  • When assigning a TA grading, be clear beforehand what the expectations are for grading, e.g. specify how much partial credit should be given for each correct component of a partial or partially correct solution.