CChieh@UWaterloo.ca

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Thanks to all those who have e-mailed or asked these questions. These questions have given us the opportunity to talk about education, quizzes, examinations, marks, philosophy of life, and education. We want you to successed in the future. Marks are one of the tools we have in shaping your character for success. We give you marks to indicate our opinion of your performance (in exams or quizzes), and you can use the marks for guidances of your effort and efficiency of study.
The questions are mostly related to marks and mark calculations. Often, I give long winded remarks to some simple quesitons. In talking about marks, I am talking about education, life, and philosophy. You may not agree with my philosophy, but I am doing the talking with a good intention.

I've done badly in my mid-term test(s). Can you count my final exam mark as a hundred percent for the term?

When you ask the question, you make us worry about you. We are uncomfortable in giving you an answer, because we worry that any answer we give will HURT you more than help you. You see: You have to do well in the first place. If you do badly in the final, counting it 100% is not going to help either. If every student sign a contract to have his or her mark calculated in certain way, we will be spending all our time doing mark calculations.

You want an incentive to work, right? That is why you wanted a "yes" answer from us. But we do not see "YES" as an incentive. We are afraid that you just want to FORGET the PAIN, keep putting the work off until it becomes too LATE. We are reluctant to answer it now because we want the pain to make you work hard.

Sorry for the long winded comment! All instructors feel that we shall do what we said we will do. In the past, a few students final exam marks were higher than those calculated from the formula we gave at the start of the term. Their marks are a bit higher, but not a great deal.

In some of past terms, we counted the final exam mark as the term mark (100% final). Few, not many, did pass because of this option. Not by chance, but due to the work that they did.

With this response, I hope you see the incentive to work and see who shoulders The RESPONSIBILITY.

I just finished writing a cact quiz. I'm not sure why but even though I put the correct answer down for my question it said I was wrong. It was a multiple choice question and I typed out the whole answer instead of just typing A, B or C. I'm not sure if that was the problem or what. For another question, however I did the same thing and I got the right answer?????. I find it frustrating. Just thought I would bring this to your attention.

Thanks for bringing it to my attention, because it gives me an opportunity to talk about philosophy of life.

In the follwing, I am going to give you a long winded answer because I have always have this philosophy of what life is. Life requires a constant problem solving. How well we solve these problems determines the quality of our live.

One of the most important skill in our lives is to recognize exactly what the problem is and then solve it the best way we can. In the CACT quiz, there are many different types of problems: multiple choice, answer by word(s), and answer by numbers. We must answer accordingly. In a formal exam, you code the computer cards with A, B, C, D, or E for multiple choice questions. Any thing else is unacceptable.

Writing a quiz is not really a test of what we know, but to see how well we can perform a task under a set circumstance. Good scores reflects a good performances in these tasks.

I've done well in all quizzes, why should I NOT pass?

Well, quiz marks were collected unsupervised. We hope a 10% is enough incentive for you to work and learn. The pay off is to do well in the final, which counts for a high percentage in weighting too.

I got an average of 90 in quizzes, 70 average in my mid-term tests. How much should you get in the final in order to pass?

You have got (90*0.10 + 70*.20 =) 23 marks towards your final grade. For a passing grade of 50, you need (50 - 23 =) 27 marks more. If the final exam is worth 70%, and you need to earn 27 marks towards the final grade, you need at least (27/0.7 =) 39.

Hope you will do better than that.

Suppose you have gotten 70% in your final examination, what will be your final grade? You will get 72. If there is no quiz marks, you will still get 70%. It is our hope that you got 70 in the examinations because you have studied for the quizzes. For that, you also got 2% more.

Well, often my logic fails me, and students see it differently.

I felt I should have done much better. I was shocked to see my low marks. Why?

Over confidence is not a good thing. We pity the students who wrote a lot of answers, but they either misunderstood the question or missed the mark. There is very little we can do to make your marks higher if you answered the "wrong" question (a question in your mind not the question on the examination paper).

Other quiz related questions and answers.

cchieh@uwaterloo.ca