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Re: [Phys-L] Evaluation tests redux

As we all prepare for the beginning of another school year, I believe that JD's suggestion of an algebra placement test for physics is an excellent thing to remember. Students who can't do algebra coming in will not have time to learn physics or algebra, and we don't have time to teach algebra in our physics classes.


-> -----Original Message-----
-> From: Phys-l [] On Behalf Of John Denker
-> Sent: Saturday, December 14, 2013 12:59 PM
-> To:
-> Subject: Re: [Phys-L] Evaluation tests
-> Memo #1 from the keen-grasp-of-the-obvious department:
-> Give them an /algebra/ test. A poor algebra score is a strong predictor of a
-> poor showing in the algebra-based physics course.
-> The converse is not necessarily true, but one-sided information
-> is better than none.
-> =======
-> Memo #2: It would be even better to give such a test as a placement test,
-> well /before/ the start of class, rather than after.
-> Students who are weak in algebra should be strongly discouraged from
-> enrolling in the physics course to begin with. This is waaaay better than
-> enrolling and then dropping after it is too late to sign up for something else.
-> You can put the test on the web, so that students can take it at home, while
-> they are still deciding what to sign up for. Link to it from the official course
-> description. Cheaters hurt only themselves. If necessary, you can catch
-> cheaters on Day One by giving a brief, similar test in class.
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