My visit to UCF
d.klappholz at worldnet.att.net
Fri Feb 17 12:05:58 EST 2006
At 10:51 AM 2/17/2006, Matthias Felleisen wrote:
>On Feb 17, 2006, at 10:20 AM, David Klappholz wrote:
>>My curiosity was aroused by the fact that the UCF questions DID NOT
>>appear to test the ability to apply concepts from course X to
>>problems in the purview of course Y -- where Y!=X -- but, rather
>>that they simply confirmed, or not, students' ability to still do
>>course X exam problems and course Y exam problems after they had
>>finished both courses.
>Even if this were the only innovation, it would still help overcome
>the "I learned X for course CS-X n months ago, don't bother me now
>with that". Don't you think so? -- Matthias
I suspect that it might, and if it does it's great, but I have a
scientific/mathematical background so I value evidence/proof grounded
in theory more than I value speculation. I.e., when someone in the CS
community makes a claim about a better -- or "the best" or "the only"
-- way to teach X or to get students to really learn/retain Y, I'd
like to see some empirical evidence. (The UCF folks might well be
able to supply some such evidence if they have a way of factoring out
the effect of admittedly bad/inconsistent teaching the first few
years the exam was put in place and far better teaching later on.)
Is the need to substantiate claims -- not just UCF's, but many/most
education-interested CS faculty's -- such a strange idea in a group
of discrete math enthusiasts?
>>If I'm misunderstanding what's taught in each of the two courses,
>>I'd be happy to be shown examples of the "apply X to Y" or "apply Y
>>to X" questions as I have a personal use for such questions.
>>At 10:07 AM 2/17/2006, Matthias Felleisen wrote:
>>>On Feb 17, 2006, at 3:00 AM, math-thinking-l-request at geneseo.edu wrote:
>>>>Ability to apply the knowledge isn't a reason to retest later if a
>>>>course exam has exactly the same (type of) ability-to-apply
>>>>question(s) on it.
>>>>So, assuming that course exams contain such questions -- if not, then
>>>>why not? -- the only reason to ask students to jump through the
>>>>additional hoop is to test their retention.
>>>>How do people feel about this approach? It makes me a bit
>>>>uncomfortable -- except, of course, for students who've taken similar
>>>>courses at other universities and have transferred in.
>>>I grew up in a system where you took _four_ semester's worth of
>>>courses, each with a half-day final (typically 3-4 hours). The
>>>grades of those finals existed only to get you admission to the
>>>fourth semester exam in the area (I had six areas in my major,
>>>some with just two courses as qualifiers for the area exam).
>>>The area exam allowed questions that required you to use
>>>ideas from all four courses to find a solution. Not too many
>>>Looking back I believe that this system prevents the systemic
>>>"loss of knowledge" problem that I have found in 14 years at
>>>Rice to some extent and to a much larger extent here at NU:
>>> For all CS1 concepts X (from before Christmas),
>>> for almost all students S in CS2 (first week in January),
>>> S will ask "X? Eh X? NEVER heard of X. Seriously,
>>> Professor P of CS1 never, ever mentioned that.
>>>This year they did this, too, except that I, professor of CS1,
>>>guest lectured for the first week in one CS2 section and looked
>>>after the other one, too.
>>>Naturally this is also true in upper-level classes. In the US
>>>too many colleges teach for the final exam, like high schools,
>>>and then students are allowed to forget.
>>>One of the innovations I could push here is not to give final
>>>exams but to act as if all semesters blur into one long stretch
>>>and exams just pop up when convenient. That works well for the
>>>first three or four semesters.
>>>I congratulate UCF for its courage to introduce this exam
>>>Math-thinking-l mailing list - Math-thinking-l at geneseo.edu
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