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.


jd2718 said...

I thought IT = Information Technology. I guess not, but I would be with you if you banned euphemisms along with pronouns.

Why three places? Seems arbitrary to me. In fact, I'm a little confused. Why is rounding required at all?

Pissed Off said...

"IT" instead of f' or f'' or f (function)

Three decimal places, or more for accuracy when answers do not ocme out to integers.

jd2718 said...

I figured out the "it" We have similar problems at all levels. "Work it out" is the worst.

Is three places a college board thing?

(When I was a kid, we only cared about places in physics and chemistry. Math had answers, even if they were in terms of sin or some other function.)

JUSTICE not "just us" said...

Well I am no math expert far from it but let me just say that students are not followig directions not to piss you off but because they have poor listening skills.

In my Special Education classes I do listening exercises and it works. You may think that they are retaing what you have taught but in actuality they retain very little. At least that has been my experience and I don't think it is a reflection of your teaching unlike the little adminstrators.