Re: Finals....

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Posted by William D McQuain on December 20, 2001 at 10:35:38:

In Reply to: Finals.... posted by Another CS Coward on December 20, 2001 at 09:51:02:

: Any comments on the "very easy" final exam mr McQuain??

: A.D

Sure. I gave essentially the same exam last fall to two sections of CS majors. The average was 70.2. I gave the same exam last summer, to a section of NONMAJORS and the average was 72.3.

I'd say I'm pretty happy with those numbers.

I know a lot of you came to Tech with the attitude that you are A students, based on your high school experience. A lot of you have gotten a shock this term. So did most of us (the faculty) at the same point in our lives.

IMO, CS is one of the five hardest majors offered on this campus. You WILL be challenged. If that doesn't appeal to you, then this is the wrong major for you. That doesn't mean you're stupid, or lazy, or anything else.

For students who tough it out, in the words of one of my colleagues, they can "take pride in the mastery of a difficult subject".

As far as the exam itself... Yes, flipping pages is annoying. Care to suggest a feasible alternative? Didn't think so. Yes, some of the questions were hard. No, the code used doesn't look like "real world code". (You want REAL code, mister? You can't handle REAL code!)

Were some of the questions tedious? I hope so. One of the things a computer scientist (or even a competent programmer) must learn is to do careful analysis, and that is almost always tedious. Attention to detail matters.

That's just a matter of discipline. Certainly you had enough time to think about the questions (and flip pages). In my section, there were only a dozen students still working on the exam with 30 minutes left, and no one took the full time.

As far as the nonmajors in 1044 go, I argued two years ago that there should be a "light" version of 1044 that wouldn't serve as a prerequisite for any of our other courses (i.e., 1704) but would be tailored to the needs of business students.

When we proposed this to the College of Business, they didn't show any interest. They were satisfied with the performance of their students in 1044, as it stands. Given the shortage of resources we're facing, that was the end of the idea.

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