Bakemaster wrote:The issue isn't whether you'll be required to memorize them in the real world or not, though; it's about training people to have a certain level of mastery over the subject. You're not required to never make a mistake in most real world careers, either, but we should be able to agree that one goal of college study is to gain the ability to make very few of them, and infrequently. Thus, you get marked down fairly consistently for making mistakes on tests, where in the real world you would just be told you screwed it up, now you fix it.
I'm not saying students necessarily will be (or should be) required to memorize things like the many formulas for electric field produced by differently-shaped charge distributions, but they absolutely need to memorize things like Coulomb's Law and Gauss's Law and if they're in a STEM field it's pretty important that they know how to use the fundamental laws to derive specific formulas.
Yeah, I really can't remember the Navier-Stokes equations, but I know it relates to fluid flow, deals with conservation of momentum, and I know exactly where to find it (don't sell back good/mediocre textbooks!). Still, I know how to use it. (At least in relatively simple cases where a lot of stuff cancels! - Haven't taken compressible flow and don't really plan to)
And yes, being able to derive formulas is fairly important, but once again I think it's another "do this once, see what assumptions are made, file that in the back of your head somewhere, and look it up when you need it". The skill of being able to derive relationships is very important, but remembering exactly how to do it for specific formulas, not required.
You've hit something that I really feel strongly about: You should never be forced to memorize anything specific. By that, I mean that you should be able to do the processes that are necessary for math or physics or whatever, but the specifics that can easily be found in a text book shouldn't be required. You should certainly know they exist and what terms are in it, but (and this example is very simplistic and could easily be figured out with unit analysis) if you know Ohms law relates voltage, current, and resistance but just can't remember if it's V=IR or V=I/R, why does that matter?Yes, there is definitely personal bias here. I cannot memorize equations or anything like that for the life of me. If I use it enough and it's easy enough, maybe. I don't have my multiplication tables memorized. I just cannot remember things of that nature. Processes though? Those are really easy and I can quite easily tell you why and how something works.
Also - Good luck to all of the people taking the AP test today!!