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Showing posts from September, 2007

The Case Against Multiple Choice Exams

Originally posted on: September 26th, 2007
Updated on: November 27th, 2007

One thing that has greatly disappointed me about college undergrad courses is the reliance many professors place on multiple choice (MC) exams. This semester, all five of the classes I'm taking have used multiple choice questions on exams. This is unfortunate because, as I will attempt to make the case, multiple choice exams have many flaws and are a poor metric to determine a student's knowledge on a given subject. Many of the arguments here have been borrowed from the National Center for Fair and Open Testing and examples are from my own experiences with multiple choice testing.

Below are my objections to multiple choice exams:

MC exam results are mathematically skewed - say I sit down at a 500 question multiple choice exam for a class I never attended, never read the textbook, and know nothing about: when I receive the grade for my exam, I'll have received a score of 25% (within some standard deviati…

Oil Buys a Lot of Stuff

Only about 20 minutes ago the Associated Press ran a story indicating that the Nasdaq, the electronic stock exchange in the United States, has agreed to sell a 20% stake in itself to the Borse Dubai, a government controlled company in the Middle East. Borse Dubai is also purchasing a 30% stake in the London Stock Exchange, and once the deals are done, will own the controlling stake in two of the world's biggest financial exchanges. Unsurprisingly, congress, both Democrats and Republicans are up in arms over this deal. How could we let a foreign government (and one from the Middle East no less) control two western financial exchanges? After all, hasn't Al Quida made it clear that they intend to use the US economic system as a conduit to wreak havoc on our country?

The problem is that Congress is asking the wrong questions. Its easy to understand why Nasdaq would be willing to Borse Dubai: money. In a capitalist system the almighty dollar trumps everything else - and if Borse Dub…

Goodbye John

For those of you who were hoping John McCain would become the 44th president of the United States, you might want to start looking for a new candidate. When a high school student challenged McCain for being too old to run for president, the Senator gave a decent response about how he has campaigned his opponents for many years...

Then for some reason, decided it would be a good idea to end on this line: "Thanks for the question, you little jerk. You're drafted." Was this supposed to be a joke? If so then it was one of the most poorly executed jokes I've ever seen. Get ready to start seeing this clip non-stop if you live in Iowa or New Hampshire; it may single handedly destroy John McCain's political future. On the bright side, McCain's poll numbers don't have that much lower to drop anyways.