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Old 01.12.2019, 21:09
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Maths at the FHNW

That's the Fachhochschule NW Schweiz.

So, my daughter recently took a 10 minute multiple choice "exam" in maths, part of her BSc course, with five questions, on differentiation. If you choose the wrong answer, you get -1. Question were like this:

Give the derivative of cos(x).e(to the power of 2x)+x(to the power 5).
Four answers given, one is correct.

The correct answer requires application of the chain, product and addition rules of differentiation. This counts for 20% of the marks for the semester.

Since maths is about the process, not the answer (although the correct answer is nice). Multiple choice tests for maths is silly and in no way measures mathematical ability.

(Incidentally, my son had a multiple choice physics question during his degree. He and other students score marks in the minuses. They complained, and the whole concept of multiple choice at that level was removed).
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Old 01.12.2019, 21:31
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Re: Maths at the FHNW

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Since maths is about the process, not the answer (although the correct answer is nice). Multiple choice tests for maths is silly and in no way measures mathematical ability.
It would seem that the college does not agree with you. My son lost 10% of the marks in college exam, because he failed to style a header that was used in his web design that he was not using, missing out on perfect 100% score... that is life.
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Old 01.12.2019, 21:36
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Re: Maths at the FHNW

I agree with the OP.

One might argue that one must actually have Math knowledge to get the right answers, and the weights can be organized so that random choices lead to an awful score... therefore somehow these tests satisfy their basic goal.

However, what if you do the math and make a single mistake over a few steps? Of course you'll get the wrong result, but 95% of your math will be correct, and the teacher might even be able to discuss the mistake.
Therefore, given the same problem, the same student and the same mistakes, a multiple choice test will yield lower marks and less learning feedbacks.

Multiple choice tests have the advantages of being unambiguous, very quick to correct, suitable for standardization and automation. I guess that's why they are of widespread use in some countries.
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Old 01.12.2019, 22:26
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Re: Maths at the FHNW

with 4 answers probably easier to eliminate the 3 wrong ones quickly.
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Old 01.12.2019, 23:57
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Re: Maths at the FHNW

Depends on how the answers are structured.

If the possible answers are designed carefully, you can see whether or not exam takers are solving the problem correctly.

Of course, the problem with multiple choice tests is that there‘s no partial credit, and arithmetic errors can get in the way of proper mathematical procedure.
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Old 02.12.2019, 00:03
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Re: Maths at the FHNW

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Old 02.12.2019, 17:23
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Re: Maths at the FHNW

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Give the derivative of cos(x).e(to the power of 2x)+x(to the power 5).
Four answers given, one is correct.

The correct answer requires application of the chain, product and addition rules of differentiation. This counts for 20% of the marks for the semester.
This single question counts 20% to the total

If I am not totally out of touch the answer should be something to the like of -sin(x)·e^2x+cos(x)·e^2x·2+5x^4 considering d/dx was asked. But maybe the whole test was one nasty trick question and the d/dy was asked (answer 0).
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Old 04.12.2019, 13:48
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Re: Maths at the FHNW

Update:

It seems that either alternate answers carried some marks, or the examiner checked the working. Unfortunately, my daughter can't recall whether the rubric said "show your working", or anything else about the marking scheme.

Still, multiple choice for maths is just wrong!
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Old 04.12.2019, 14:15
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Re: Maths at the FHNW

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Depends on how the answers are structured.

If the possible answers are designed carefully, you can see whether or not exam takers are solving the problem correctly.

.
Possibly, in a simplified way like those internet maths multiple choice questions where half the people get the same answer - but an incorrect one as they didn't follow the correct order of operations.

I told my eight and ten year olds that there would be trouble if they didn't show their working.

Even for the eight-year old, he finally understood my point when working on those "logicals" (Anne has ten apples, Billy has three eggs and twice as many apples as Sarah...... What was the name of the dog?.....), he discovered it was so much easier to work out by drawing up a table and include the information that he did know.
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Old 04.12.2019, 14:32
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Re: Maths at the FHNW

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Update:

It seems that either alternate answers carried some marks, or the examiner checked the working. Unfortunately, my daughter can't recall whether the rubric said "show your working", or anything else about the marking scheme.

Still, multiple choice for maths is just wrong!
It gets chosen when there is a risk of students being either better than a teacher or when they can come up with many correct answers. I dislike them, they are not good for any assessment.
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