You may or may not be aware that next week begins Advanced Placement exams for the US and Canada. Advanced Placement (or AP) is a program by the same guys behind the SAT, College Board, and involves top-of-the-line high school courses devoted to specific subjects: physics, chemistry, etcetera. At the end of the year there is an AP exam for each subject, which for most exams (an exception is AP Studio Art) is comprised of roughly half essays (Free Response Questions) and half multiple choice.
Recently (May 2011) a change has been implemented in the scoring for the multiple choice section of the AP exam.[sup][url=http://www.parentdish.com/2010/08/12/guess-what-taking-ap-exams-just-got-easier/][/url][/sup] Once, it was graded in the same way as the SAT:
[B]Answer question correctly:[/B] gain one point.
[B]Do not answer question:[/B] gain zero points.
[B]Answer question, but give a WRONG answer:[/B] LOSE a fraction of a point.
The idea was that by randomly guessing you show absolutely no mastering of the skill, so a testtaker who absolutely randomly guessed would do as well as one who did not answer a single question at all.
NOW, however, there is no such penalty for wrong answers.
I think that that's stupid. The test is about mastering your shit, and I think that having good test-taking skills is not a measure of having mastered your shiti. An example:
I'm pretty smart so I probably won't find myself in this situation when I take my 3 AP exams over the next two weeks. When I took the AP Environmental Science exam last year, one dumbass kid came into the exam literally 30 minutes late, and thus had less time to finish. Let's say that this poor boy only had half the questions answered when the proctor spoke the fateful "You have five minutes remaining." Now, he has two choices.
[B]He can:[/B] answer C C C C C C C C C C C and probably boost his score a few points, OR
[B]He can:[/B] keep working, maybe he will finish a few more questions in the time allotted.
Which one will get him a higher score? The first one, most likely, if this kid is as dumb as he seems. And yet, it doesn't actually mean that he's any better at Environmental Science.... and that's what the test is supposed to measure.
See, I think that's bullshit. Do you agree with me, Facepunch?
agree, people should leave shit blank that they don't know.
That IS bullshit, you can't tell if someone was guessing or not unless it's incredibly obvious.
[QUOTE=trotskygrad;35804441]agree, people should leave shit blank that they don't know.[/QUOTE]
As much as I disagree with the scoring method, I am definitely going to guess if necessary. A moral crusade is not worthy of giving up a 5.
Furthermore, it is worth note that a penalty for wrong answers should NOT serve to discourage EDUCATED guesses. If I have narrowed down A B C D E to either B or D, I am still more likely to boost my score by guessing, thus EDUCATED guesses (which are legitimate and do show knowledge of the subject) remain useful under any circumstances.
[QUOTE=Elecbullet;35804480]As much as I disagree with the scoring method, I am definitely going to guess if necessary. A moral crusade is not worthy of giving up a 5.
Furthermore, it is worth note that a penalty for wrong answers should NOT serve to discourage EDUCATED guesses. If I have narrowed down A B C D E to either B or D, I am still more likely to boost my score by guessing, thus EDUCATED guesses (which are legitimate and do show knowledge of the subject) remain useful under any circumstances.[/QUOTE]
yeah, my point was adding a penalty discourages spam, like you said
When i have to guess on a test like that i just bubble in random ones, not all Cs or Bs ect.
[QUOTE=beanhead;35804561]When i have to guess on a test like that i just bubble in random ones, not all Cs or Bs ect.[/QUOTE]
It's not like there's someone who reads all the AP exams and takes points off if there's a string of Cs. On individual teacher-given tests though, that certainly would be a slight concern if your teacher is evil.
But again on the AP exam it shouldn't matter either way.
Thinking back to the multiple choice questions on my past AP Language and Composition tests, there would seldom be a 100% correct answer, it was always matter of weighing what what was the [I]best [/I]answer. This approach weeds out the people who lack higher analytic skills necessary for independent success in the given subject. The point system attributed to these tests simply reflects that approach, and for the most part, I find it effective. By removing the punishment for getting an answer wrong, we get test takers who will always put down what they think is best, without having to deal in the economics of right and wrong answers bearing on the final score.
For simple maths, science, and history, sure, we need consistently correct answers. What some are forgetting is that in the real world, simple facts, figures, and calculations are not the end; they are merely tools for us to use when developing higher understanding and solutions to novel problems. College level courses are (or should be about) using the knowledge we do have to work out new concepts and understandings. Advance Placement (college level) tests throw things students are not strictly prepared for in order to assess their adaptability and problem-solving skills, not their knowledge.
Students should have a fair amount of time to deal with the problems presented in the test, using time wisely is a justified aspect of any test.
As long as you get over a 3 it really doesn't matter for 99% of universities. Most tests also have absolutely nothing to do with the class that you are going to get out of. Passing the AP test is much more difficult than the finals of comparable classes.
Under conventional count-off-for-incorrect answers, if there are five options and you can rule out ONE and only ONE of each, you STILL are better off guessing randomly from the remaining four. Thus an educated guess still remains the ideal, and a failure to understand this is a failure on the part of the testtaker, yet easily avoided by understanding the test.
I have [I]very[/I] good testtaking skills- I got a 5 (top score) on AP Environmental Science without having taken the course, and later helping my friend with her homework in that class found that I really knew very little about the subject. HOWEVER, I still contend that test-taking skills such as time management should, in an ideal exam, have as minimal an effect as possible on your score beyond the necessary nature of taking a test in the first place. It should, again ideally, be just about mastery of the material.
I reckon it wouldn't really work with the tests we do here in Australia (dunno about elsewhere). Multiple choice is actually choosing the best answer (eg there is no obvious answer no matter how well you know the subject), usually one or two of the other answers will actually not be wrong but just not fully fit the question. It would incredibly punish students who may have some degree of an idea about what the question is asking, and effectively make an incredibly wide gap between the very best students and the students who show capability, who will now be mixed in with the students who genuinely don't know anything and thus not answer out of risk of being penalised.
[QUOTE=Antdawg;35804856]effectively make an incredibly wide gap between the very best students and the students who show capability.[/QUOTE]
well done you've discovered the point of standardized tests in the US
[QUOTE=thisispain;35804862]well done you've discovered the point of standardized tests in the US[/QUOTE]
It's not a problem that discriminators are put in there, but that the students who do know their shit but get penalised for wrong answers now would have same marks as those who don't know their shit and don't answer.
Did you even read my fucking post.
Yeah this sort of thing annoys me. Teachers always told me to guess even if I didn't know the answer on multichoice questions, and I don't like that I have to sacrifice intellectual integrity for the sake of a grade.
College Board doesn't own the ACT, they're competitors.
Thank you for that correction. I apologize.
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