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*From*: lhodges@iastate.edu*Date*: Fri, 05 Apr 1996 15:51:17 CST

In my introductory calculus-level physics course at ISU, the rule is

all written questions (not multiple choice), no calculators of any type,

no crib or formula sheets. The cover sheet of the exam contains some

basic definitions and laws (about 1/2 a page in a large font) on the

order of Fnet=ma, v=dr/dt, a=dv/dt, etc. The written questions are

devised so formula memorization gets few if any points. Whereas on

multiple-choice exams (5 choices) the lowest scores might be 20-30%, scores

below 10% occur on the written exams.

Exams have numerical work - even some fairly complicated, with square

roots, for example - but only one-significant-figure accuracy is expected,

through estimation.

I have seen engineers with programmable calculators containing hundreds

of worked physics examples with algebraic solutions and the opportunity

to plug in numbers. I think there are even modules of such that can be

bought. I have had less-wealthy students point that out that calculators

give wealthier students a significant advantage when they can be used in

a course, and thank me for not allowing them.

Laurent Hodges, Professor of Physics lhodges@iastate.edu

12 Physics Hall, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011-3160

(515) 294-1185 (office) http://www.public.iastate.edu/~lhodges

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