Friday, October 21, 2016

Logarithm Test, Part 2

They're good at pushing buttons on a calculator.

The second half of the test, given today, was a "calculator allowed" test.  Most of the questions didn't require a calculator, even for a decimal/fraction-written exact answer.  But there were a couple of problems that required them to pull variables out of an exponent, and they were able to do that just fine.  With a calculator.

But they couldn't do similar problems yesterday, on the "no calculator" portion of the test.  What gives?  The steps are exactly the same!

1 comment:

three of clubs said...

I'm pretty sure it's our function syntax. I see similar problems with the trig functions. I wonder if it might help at the early learning stages to insist on parentheses, for example, (log 12) instead of just log 12. Or, even (log (12)) ... but that seems like overkill. In comp sci, there's always consideration about the scope of a function, including in some languages the left and right binding.

Then again, by the time we're teaching logs, the students should be able to deal with abstract representations. Of course, quite a few can't.