So called "Weed Out Courses" (or, Why bother with college?)

The school experience. School related queries, discussions, and stories that aren't specific to a subject.

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Aardvarki
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Re: So called "Weed Out Courses" (or, Why bother with colleg

Postby Aardvarki » Thu Apr 08, 2010 1:54 pm UTC

Omegaton wrote:
achan1058 wrote:
cjmcjmcjmcjm wrote:My AP Euro teacher had quizzes that had 5 choices for each question:
3 statements: A, B, and C
D: A and B are true; C is false
E: A, B, and C are all true
I recall a "multichoice" test where you are to choose a non-empty subset of the 5 choices given..... (there are 31 ways)

I had my first multiple choice test in this manner this semester, and it blew my mind.


One of my professors would do things similar to this - but on top of that, he would have sections of 10 True/False problems worth 10 points, but instead of 1 point per problem the grading was "If you get 5 right, you get no points, it is no better than guessing - each one above 5 you get right is worth two points" (Sure, it makes sense, but man, did it make me angry when he also worded his problems to be very tricky and i'd get ones wrong on formalities) - and "Multiple choice" problems where we had 10-15 choices to choose from for a single problem. Normally, the choices were the correct answer, one above and below the correct answer, the three most common incorrect answers, and one above and below each of those incorrect answers (this was an Algorithms/Math for programmers class, so the answers were almost always integers). I found more success ignoring his options until after I had completed the problem (this was probably his intent). His courses were partially considered 'weed-out' courses, mostly due to his insanely evil tests and complete lack of curve.

This same teacher ended up being my favorite teacher I had at school. He was the most boring lecturer I'd ever had (his last name ended in 'stein' so his nickname with everyone was "Ben Stein" - he actually sounded like him), but after the final for the first course I had with him, him and I had a two-hour discussion on more complex algorithms problems and it became pretty obvious to me that this guy wasn't at the school to teach, he was there because he was a flippin' genius. I promptly signed up for his advanced algorithms class the next semester and enjoyed it greatly. Sadly, he was one of only about three teachers I ever had at this school who I felt that way about. Unfortunately, that's to be expected from a state school, it seems.
-Aa
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Strange Quirk
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Re: So called "Weed Out Courses" (or, Why bother with colleg

Postby Strange Quirk » Thu Apr 15, 2010 2:55 am UTC

achan1058 wrote:Actually, if you ended up memorizing more than a few pages for any math course, you are probably doing it wrong, no matter what math course it is, maybe with the exception of History of Mathematics.


I want to respond to this since no one else has, for some reason. I disagree. Although students often do a lot of unnecessary memorization, anybody that is "good" at math in school (and in general) has lots of things memorized, for good reason. Memorizing doesn't mean you just accept something as fact; it means that you know it without having to derive it. You should be able to derive the majority of the formulas/theorems you use (with obvious exceptions), but you should still have necessary formulas/theorems memorized. Anybody who doesn't have the multiplication table memorized will be in a sad situation indeed, and it doesn't matter if they can figure out what 8x7 is with a bit of thought or calculator button presses. Its all about time; you don't have an infinite amount of time, so you need to be able to solve problems quickly. If an important formula has a long derivation (even if its a simple one), and the formula doesn't make intuitive sense if you look at it, then your best bet will be memorization. And I won't get into olympiad math.

achan1058
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Re: So called "Weed Out Courses" (or, Why bother with colleg

Postby achan1058 » Thu Apr 15, 2010 3:28 pm UTC

Strange Quirk wrote:
achan1058 wrote:Actually, if you ended up memorizing more than a few pages for any math course, you are probably doing it wrong, no matter what math course it is, maybe with the exception of History of Mathematics.


I want to respond to this since no one else has, for some reason. I disagree. Although students often do a lot of unnecessary memorization, anybody that is "good" at math in school (and in general) has lots of things memorized, for good reason. Memorizing doesn't mean you just accept something as fact; it means that you know it without having to derive it. You should be able to derive the majority of the formulas/theorems you use (with obvious exceptions), but you should still have necessary formulas/theorems memorized. Anybody who doesn't have the multiplication table memorized will be in a sad situation indeed, and it doesn't matter if they can figure out what 8x7 is with a bit of thought or calculator button presses. Its all about time; you don't have an infinite amount of time, so you need to be able to solve problems quickly. If an important formula has a long derivation (even if its a simple one), and the formula doesn't make intuitive sense if you look at it, then your best bet will be memorization. And I won't get into olympiad math.
Yes, that much I agree, but my point is the amount of new material in any given course usually isn't that large. Granted that if I am to write everything I remember from grade 1, it will cover more than a few pages, but if I am only writing out the new theorems and key ideas in say a graph theory course, it shouldn't take nearly the same amount of paperwork as the amount of notes I copied off the teacher. It's true that I should remember the theorems, since otherwise I can't even prove what I am supposed to prove, but I don't have to remember every step of the proof, as some people would have done.

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Jorpho
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Re: So called "Weed Out Courses" (or, Why bother with colleg

Postby Jorpho » Sat Nov 05, 2011 1:19 am UTC

I saw this today and thought this thread would be most appropriate.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/06/educa ... .html?_r=1

But, it turns out, middle and high school students are having most of the fun, building their erector sets and dropping eggs into water to test the first law of motion. The excitement quickly fades as students brush up against the reality of what David E. Goldberg, an emeritus engineering professor, calls “the math-science death march.” Freshmen in college wade through a blizzard of calculus, physics and chemistry in lecture halls with hundreds of other students. And then many wash out.

Studies have found that roughly 40 percent of students planning engineering and science majors end up switching to other subjects or failing to get any degree. That increases to as much as 60 percent when pre-medical students, who typically have the strongest SAT scores and high school science preparation, are included, according to new data from the University of California at Los Angeles. That is twice the combined attrition rate of all other majors.

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cjmcjmcjmcjm
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Re: So called "Weed Out Courses" (or, Why bother with colleg

Postby cjmcjmcjmcjm » Sun Nov 06, 2011 7:25 am UTC

Jorpho wrote:I saw this today and thought this thread would be most appropriate.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/06/educa ... .html?_r=1

But, it turns out, middle and high school students are having most of the fun, building their erector sets and dropping eggs into water to test the first law of motion. The excitement quickly fades as students brush up against the reality of what David E. Goldberg, an emeritus engineering professor, calls “the math-science death march.” Freshmen in college wade through a blizzard of calculus, physics and chemistry in lecture halls with hundreds of other students. And then many wash out.

Studies have found that roughly 40 percent of students planning engineering and science majors end up switching to other subjects or failing to get any degree. That increases to as much as 60 percent when pre-medical students, who typically have the strongest SAT scores and high school science preparation, are included, according to new data from the University of California at Los Angeles. That is twice the combined attrition rate of all other majors.

I suspect much of that is due to the amount of non-grades related crap people in those majors have to go through. I have no idea why people would willingly put themselves through all the crap that nursing and education majors have to go through.
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