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43 votes

Student asked me if it is necessary to simplify fractions at the end of answering a question. I'm not sure how to respond

The short answer to your question is: everyone is right. I agree with people here that in many contexts, $0.75$ or $\frac{3}{4}$ would be a more desirable answer than $\frac{45}{60}$. I also agree ...
Vaekor's user avatar
  • 630
36 votes
Accepted

Adding irrelevant humorous questions to a quiz exam

I think there's room for differences of opinion on this, and the answer might depend on the ages of the students or who the specific students are. When I was a student I enjoyed questions like this, ...
Henry Towsner's user avatar
34 votes
Accepted

How should I grade true-or-false questions if the student's writing is unclear?

I read them as TTTFT. But the fourth is very hard to tell, the first somewhat hard to tell, and all show poor writing, perhaps indicating a lack of engagement. You could tell him that such terrible ...
guest's user avatar
  • 356
28 votes

Should I change my take-home exam policy because of one suspected cheater?

It's not just one student. As mentioned in comments, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Various studies gauge the percent of college students who cheat at somewhere between 75% and 98%. I would ...
Daniel R. Collins's user avatar
28 votes

Adding irrelevant humorous questions to a quiz exam

No, I think this is a really silly idea. Let's assume that students are trying to get a 100% score. What is the correct answer to "I love mathematics - true/false"? Is the "I" there the teacher? The ...
Nick Gammon's user avatar
27 votes
Accepted

Students understand during course but can't solve exam

Do NOT give exam questions that are intentionally more challenging than homework or in-class problems. I would recommend precisely the opposite. The point of the exam is really a spot-check that ...
Daniel R. Collins's user avatar
25 votes

Adding irrelevant humorous questions to a quiz exam

Not a good idea in my opinion. I am on the Autism spectrum and as such I am a very very literal person and I am often derailed by trying to understand a poorly-defined question. Neurotypical people ...
AndyW's user avatar
  • 369
25 votes
Accepted

A smart student that struggles in exams

There are several possible explanations. Without much more information, it is impossible to give a clear-cut answer. Perhaps your student is able to "read" your unconcisious reactions very ...
vonbrand's user avatar
  • 12.3k
22 votes

Student asked me if it is necessary to simplify fractions at the end of answering a question. I'm not sure how to respond

I am a GCSE Maths examiner. For a question like this, any correct equivalent decimal, percentage or fraction, whether simplified or not, would receive full marks. It is only specifically if it says in ...
A. Goodier's user avatar
  • 1,725
21 votes

Is it a bad idea to offer variants of a final exam based on the type of allowed calculators?

Let's start by saying that I strongly advice against such a dual-exam. Even if you and everyone involved in the planning think it is fair, students might think differently. In this way, you open up ...
Dirk's user avatar
  • 1,318
21 votes
Accepted

Effectiveness of Requiring Students to Repeat Proofs Presented in Class

I view a course as a story. The definitions introduce the characters, the theorems are the plot, and hopefully there is some sort of overarching message that plot is trying to convey. If you were ...
Steven Gubkin's user avatar
20 votes
Accepted

Should students be given partial scores when they gave an incomplete proof by contradiction?

There's no abstract reason that an imperfect proof by contradiction should categorically fail to get credit. A proof should generally get partial credit based on how much knowledge of the relevant ...
Henry Towsner's user avatar
20 votes

Point Deductions - Exams and Quizzes

I favor an additive grading scheme, where points are earned toward a possible maximum (say 10) instead of deducting points for the myriad possible mistakes one could make. Here, I would try to adopt a ...
Nick C's user avatar
  • 9,729
19 votes
Accepted

Student asked me if it is necessary to simplify fractions at the end of answering a question. I'm not sure how to respond

The answer to your question depends on the pedagogical goal of the exercise, and what learning outcomes you have identified. It basically comes down to the following question: Is manipulating ...
Xander Henderson's user avatar
  • 8,298
18 votes

Would you correct grading mistakes downwards if there is a mistake in grading?

No matter how large or small the effect, if the mistake was caught by a student, I would never lower grades because of this. It would discourage students from pointing out mistakes. Take out any ...
Sue VanHattum's user avatar
  • 21.1k
18 votes

How can I distribute an exam to a large class without a lockdown broswer such as Respondus/Proctorio?

I once faced a similar issue. My classes were in-person and not very big, so the following solution was sufficient for me: email a PDF of the exam to the students tell them that the PDF is the only ...
Justin Skycak's user avatar
18 votes

How can I distribute an exam to a large class without a lockdown broswer such as Respondus/Proctorio?

The simplest solution would be to go to a local copy shop, office supply store, or pack-and-ship store and have them print the exam papers for you. Photocopies are generally a few cents per page, and ...
bta's user avatar
  • 531
16 votes

How can I learn to write better questions to test for conceptual understanding?

Agreeing with comments and other posts: If you want more conceptual answers, give them less details in the set-up. Using your velocity problem, here are a couple of examples of making it more ...
Aeryk's user avatar
  • 8,029
15 votes

Why don’t all professors let students use notes, books, etc. on exams?

Making a course easier to pass is not the same as making a good course. There is a certain corpus of knowledge with which practitioners are expected to have instant recall (a.k.a: "automaticity"). If ...
Daniel R. Collins's user avatar
15 votes
Accepted

Would you correct grading mistakes downwards if there is a mistake in grading?

I would go with option 1, give everybody the points. But also, for the students who actually got it right, I would give them +1/40 bonus points so as not to annoy/upset them either. Basically, I don't ...
Justin Skycak's user avatar
14 votes

Should students be given partial scores when they gave an incomplete proof by contradiction?

I agree completely with Henry, but let me try to mention some specific, practical advice that you or others may find helpful. I strongly encourage you to adopt a more wholistic manner of marking/...
JDH's user avatar
  • 4,076
13 votes

Should I change my take-home exam policy because of one suspected cheater?

My own experience is to not give any high-stakes take-home exam-like content (I'm not speaking of a paper, of course) in a lower-level course. There is too much incentive for even well-meaning ...
kcrisman's user avatar
  • 5,986
13 votes
Accepted

A student is cheating and I don't know how

First off, I challenge the framing of the question. You seem to be seeking answers for the question How did the student get the correct answer from this work? Unfortunately, I don't think that ...
Xander Henderson's user avatar
  • 8,298
13 votes

Why don’t all professors let students use notes, books, etc. on exams?

I think that allowing students to use resources on exams can work well in certain situations, such as when the knowledge they can pull from those resources is peripheral (not of core importance to the ...
Jordan's user avatar
  • 603
13 votes

How do you handle the frustration of having to GRADE student exams / homework?

I have found that, for myself, implementing standards based grading has eliminated this frustration entirely. I now find grading to be enjoyable. I have a collection of standards for my course like &...
Steven Gubkin's user avatar
13 votes

Student asked me if it is necessary to simplify fractions at the end of answering a question. I'm not sure how to respond

I tell my students this story when this issue comes up: Imagine you are answering the phone at the local pizza place. Someone on the other end says "Yes, I'd like to place an order. I'd like ...
Chris Cunningham's user avatar
12 votes
Accepted

A4 paper of notes in an exam

I believe allowing students to prepare notes for use on an exam is a valuable way to help them focus their exam studying. I do not see the creation of the sheet as a waste of time. To make the notes, ...
Chris Cunningham's user avatar
12 votes

Why don’t all professors let students use notes, books, etc. on exams?

I think it is usually counterproductive. Instead of building skills, it rewards students who are good at information retrieval. And I say that as one of those advantaged. Still remember a P-chem ...
guest's user avatar
  • 644
12 votes

Where can I find public repositories of past math exams?

Quite a few universities publicly post the math exams their faculty write: UC Berkeley hosts an archive of their past exams, sorted by course. University of Michigan hosts past exams for some ...

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