The final answer is not the answer they are looking for…

Today I’ve finished going over some tests of my students. It was one of the first tests I’ve given since I started at this job. The test contained some problems in which they had to combine Kirchoff’s circuit laws and Ohm’s law.

Most of the students calculated the good answer in many different and, for them, new situations. As a teacher, I was quite pleased with this result. The grades, however, were not that great.

Show me that you do understand
As mentioned above, I was quite pleased with the fact that the students came up with the good answers, but what they didn’t show me is the most important part of their grade: the calculations. A teacher wants to see the method the students use to solve the problems. By that he can determine whether or not the student was just guessing the answer or if he really understood what he was doing.

It will be damn luck if a student guesses his way to a good answer, but still… Why not write that way down on the paper. Probably it will be just laziness, but not only laziness during the test. No, the student is lazy during the lessons too. If you are used to write your calculations down during your homework or during classes you are used to writing it down and it will be just a habit during the test.

To all of the students who read this and who know that they are one of the many who don’t write their calculations down: write them down, allways! It takes a few seconds extra during your homework assignments, but the benefits are enormous: better grades!

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