Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Linear Algebra Midterms

The grades were posted today for our second linear algebra "midterm," if one could call it that, considering that it was less than two weeks before the final for the course. I haven't seen mine yet, so I'll say nothing of that, but I will post the graphs of the two.
Midterm 1: Average 55% with a 17% deviation (low of 12, the 0 is a glitch)

Midterm 2: Average 74% with a 14% deviation (low of 43)

Now I beg the question: Which one of these test is more "fair" or "better," ignoring all considerations of content and adequately preparing for it. Midterm 1 was a near symmetric bell curve, yet I've been hearing rumors that he is considering even throwing that one out. That may not be entirely unfair, but imagine if they were legitimately thought provoking questions. Wouldn't it prove to be a better evaluation if the average was closer to 50 than 100?

What does everyone getting 100% on a test mean? We all equally know the material?

So which one is better, the one where knowing the material from class gets you a 74%, or the one that requires true insight into the material to get past 55%? Which one is better considering that this is a lower division math class required for a plethora of BS majors? (Consider the meaning of BS for what you will. I'm heading straight to Grad school)

Which one would you rather take? The second one was quite a bit easier to take, but really, if I wanted to kick back and take a midterm in 30 minutes with a cool glass of lemonade, I would have saved all the money, and trouble, and stayed in high school... (or gone back to last week and taken my Electromagnetism physics midterm again. ZAH-ZING!)

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