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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Short note about writing math exams

( I'm doing a bit of random surfing. )

Some quotes.
"... I'm starting to feel the pressure of fitting an entire linear algebra course in just 5 weeks. ( ... ) I am covering 2 sections of text every day, which amounts to covering 2 chapters a week. ..."

What I have learned is ( and you might, or might not, agree ) that mathematics needs a lot of time TO SINK IN. And doing mathematics is like doing physical exercise or playing a musical instrument: if you don't practice every day you lose the skill and/or knowledge. I think that's what the Open University is doing. Topics are introduced in MST121, come back in MS221, M208 and they keep coming back with each repeat covering some new ground.

About designing exam questions:
"...It's just very hard to come up with clever ways to present problems that cover knowledge of the material in a way such that those that know the material will be able to do the problems without much difficulty but those that did not put the work will have a fair amount of difficulty. ..."

It explains why some students find an exam easy while it was hard for another: it had been deliberately designed this way!

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