Sunday, January 13, 2008
Calculus is by definition a hard substance and the study of calculus is also hard. My tests are even harder because they emphasize applications of knowledge, not just rote reiteration of problems that were taught in class. Studying is not enough to pass a test in my class. You really have to be able to use what you have been taught.
I know this is a difficult thing for kids to do. I don't expect them to do well on my exams at this point of the term. (All grades are curved so they don't have to worry about averages being ruined.) I do expect them to know certain things and I have no tolerance when they don't.
1. The use of the word IT is strictly forbidden. They must be specific in all their justifications. Yet, as I mark midterm exams, I find this word on more than one paper.
2. All answers must be expressed to a minimum of three decimal places. This is mentioned every single day. Yet, as I mark midterms, I am constantly taking off points for answered expressed as only a one or two place decimal.
These kids are bright kids. I know they understand THREE. I don't understand why they fight using three places for their answers. Maybe when they get the exams back, with the -1's for decimals and "ITs" they will learn to do what is required of them.