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This Will Boost R & D, Sales of Scientific Calcs
Message #1 Posted by J.C. Randerson on 22 Aug 2003, 8:20 a.m.

The Luddites have struck again: all calculators with memory/text editing have been banned from national EIT exams:

banning all calculators with extended memory/text capabilities. I sold 3 HP32s last fall thinking I'd never need them again. About a month ago, when moving, I found another HP32 in its unopened package in a drawer I'd completely forgotten about! What a relief...

J.C. Randerson

Re: This Will Boost R & D, Sales of Scientific Calcs
Message #2 Posted by Jeffrey_G on 22 Aug 2003, 12:31 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by J.C. Randerson

I took my Electrical PE exam armed with two HP48S's. I was able to work all the problems with time to spare. This is because the HP48 is an excellent tool. It was test preparation, not my calculator which determined my exam outcome (BTW I passed).

Banning these HP calulators is an outrage. The NCEES has done a disservice to future EIT & PE test takers.


Re: This Will Boost R & D, Sales of Scientific Calcs
Message #3 Posted by Tony Duell (UK) on 22 Aug 2003, 6:28 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by J.C. Randerson

ARGH!!! IMHO, when an exam bans a tool (like a programmable calculator), it simply means the examiners are too lazy to set proper questions. If I was setting an exam, I would allow _anything_ apart from a person or a communcation system to another person to be used. You could take in any calculator, computer, notes, books, whatever. And you'd still have problems with it :-) What really annoys me is that a person's perfomance in an exam is used to judge their ability to solve real-world problems, but at least around here nobody cares what tools I use to solve a problem. I don't, for example, get handed a 9810 for repair and get told 'BTW, you can't use your LogicDart, and you must do the soldering with a screwdriver heated in a blowlamp flame rather than using your fancy temperature-controller iron'. People are just glad that I fix their machines, no matter how I do it. Selecting the right tool, and being able to use it correctly, is part of the process.

Re: This Will Boost R & D, Sales of Scientific Calcs
Message #4 Posted by bill platt on 22 Aug 2003, 6:50 p.m.,
in response to message #3 by Tony Duell (UK)

I generally agree with Tony on this, merely on the basis that many of the best (or worst!) exams I sat for in college were "open book." The profs understood the material, understood how to ask questions which required one to think, regardless of the tool, etc.

But there are exceptions, of course. For instance, my verbal matriculation examination in materials engineering was sort of like a stand-up thesis defense, but without the thesis. No materials at all, except the chalkboard. The panel of distinguished professors asks, "could you discuss the concept of the stress-strain curve?" And then once that is charted out, "why is it drooping over there?" to which you answer, "ah, good question! This is an engineering stress-strain curve referenced against the original cross sectional area...etc." And so you are feeling smart, but then they just dig deeper. So then, why does the curve curve over? (Yielding). And then with some more prodding, they expect you to get to the atomic stress-strain curve, and to dislocations, and defects, and Griffith energy....

But note that in the latter case, if you have no knowledge of the topic, or very little, you are sunk! Whereas in the open-book exam, if you are organized, and a quick study, you might just find what you want... (I did this in freshman Physics on my first exam and got an A, but then the prof got smart and by the end I was getting D's!). But still, if the professor structures the exam with some skill, you will have no way to "cook-book" the answer.

I think perhaps it is the multiple choice aspect that kills the open book concept. When the student is required to show work and to describe her understanding in words, then there is a good exam.

Just my 5 guineas worth.

Exam cheats must die
Message #5 Posted by Richard on 23 Aug 2003, 9:42 a.m.,
in response to message #4 by bill platt

During WWII, the Enigma machine and it's code was solved by brilliant mathematicians who used only their brains and a piece of paper - no computers and no calculators - they probably passed their exams by using only their brains too. What a bunch of wet-weaks we've all turned into. The decision to ban cheat potential calulators is an excellant move.

Re: Exam cheats must die
Message #6 Posted by J.C. Randerson on 23 Aug 2003, 3:48 p.m.,
in response to message #5 by Richard

This is bull$@#$! Who says anyone was cheating? What this really about is the age old contest of arguments between those who hate technology and those who love it: Luddites vs. Geeks.

On one side you have the diehard mathematician types, remember your instructors from the calculus series, no calculator whatsoever allowed? On the other side you have the Steven Wolfram,(creator of Mathematica) types who say you get nowhere without technology.

I tend to agree with Wolfram: after a certain level, without technology you can't do much. And to ban a certain calculator on an engineering test, where you are supposed to bring all your skills to bear (including use of technology) to solve real world problems is unbelievably stupid.

We've all taken tests where you could have brought in all your notes, the text, even a pc, but without understanding the material, you couldn't even start a problem. Having technology does not mean you understand anything. It's just a tool to speed the computation process. And no machine can replace the human brain to set up the process. That's what makes an engineer.

This current NCEES decision wins a round for the Luddites. I'd take them more seriously if they gave up their computers, cars, insulated homes, electric lights, eyeglasses, modern health care, etc... But of course they're not, and that's what makes them and those defend them phony. In short, all they're trying to do is make it as hard as possible. To that I say with emphasis: bull$@#%!

J.C. Randerson

Re: Exam cheats must die
Message #7 Posted by Tony Duell (UK) on 23 Aug 2003, 4:21 p.m.,
in response to message #5 by Richard

Err, wait a second. Yes, enigma was cracked using brainpower, but I will bet that had computers been available then, they would have been used. The codebreakers would _not_ have artificially limited the tools they could use. No sane person would do that. I once read a book which said 'It is good for students to overcome difficulties, but those difficulties should be real, not artificial'. This is a view I strongly agree with. Sure calculators make _calculations_ easier, but they are not a replacement for understanding the subject -- and that's what exams should be testing. To comment on an earlier message in this thread, when I did my Ph.D. viva, I did ask if I could look up something in a databook (I think it was whether a signal was inverted or not). The examiners said 'sure'. I don't think it counted against me either (I passed :-)). Had I been an examiner, then I would have been happy for a candidate to look something like that up -- it was clear he understood the subject, clear he knew there was a possibilty the signal was 'upside down' and clear he knew how to check. Which is what a real-world designer would do. Better that that get it wrong in a complex design and have to sort it out later! To go back to the example of a stress-strain curve -- if I'd asked the candidate to discuss the stress-strain curve of a particular steel, then I would be happy for him to look it up in a databook. Nobody can, or should, remember details like that. But then he should be able to make intellegent comments about it from memory, without just reading sections out of the book. That's a test of _understanding_.

Re: Exam cheats must die
Message #8 Posted by Richard on 24 Aug 2003, 5:09 a.m.,
in response to message #7 by Tony Duell (UK)

The point here is that the Enigma Code wasn't solved by a computer or a calculator, it was solved by the brilliance of someone's brain - a testimony to the ability of the individual who has proved his skills a million times over. Even now most people are in awe of this and how they achieved it - without computers or calculators (that's the point).

If he can use his own skills and resources to solve the complex enigma code, it goes without saying that if there had been computers available it would have been solved infinitely more quickly by the same brilliant individual, or by a million other non-brilliant individuals whose only great shill is being able to press a button on a keyboard to demonstrate the use of technological aids, to activate a computer program to solve the porblem. In this case the only brilliant one would not be the millions of non-impressive individuals who demonstrate their skill by using tools such a computer (my 5 year old does that now), but would be the single brilliant person who spent hours using his BRAIN to devise and construct the computer program that is utilised by millions of others who supposedly show questionable initiative and skill to solve the problem by choosing HIS program. Of course "the others" will try to impress the pants off everyone by boasting how they solved major complex problems using the available technological aids such as a computer and a program (yawn!) - but this doesn't prove or establish their abilities or "manhood".

By the way, it makes sense to me that if computers did exist back in WW2 , the Germans would have devised an Emigma code simulation by computer that was more complex by a factor of 1,000,000,000 (probably), it would have had 10,000 rotors, 100,000 symbols on each rotor and it would have been ENCRYPTED to boot, plus it probably would have had 1,000 other safety measures the brilliant german mathematicians would have added (don't forget Einstein was a German!!!). Give the old original Enigma code to some of the current "brilliant!?" college graduates (assuming a level playing field), and see how they go trying to solve the problem. You will soon hear, "Mommy I want my computer- it can't be done without the use of technological aids - after all I passed all my exams using my ability to use and demonstrate my ability to use computers and my excellent ability to select the right program off the shelf to solve the problem instantly".

The bottom line is...... if you've proved yourself without the need to pass exams using advanced aids then it goes without saying that you're capable of pressing a button on a calculator or a computer to do same brain functions infinitely faster - the point is you've proved you're able to use your brain in the first place without artificial prosthetic devices like PC's and calculators.

Of course we can go to the other extreme and embrace the use of all technological aids to help pass examinations. In 100 years from now when the human brain is hardwired to plug-in module in the back of the brain, all you will have to do when you sit for your "ADVANSED STRESS ANALYSIS" exam is plug the data module into you brain socket and hey presto you've demonstrated your immense initiative and abiltiy to use the available design tools available around you to solve the problem and pass the exam - the whole class would pass with A+++ results - even the local street drunk would get an A++++ in "ADVANCED STRESS ANALYSIS" - good on him for using all available technological aids and devices. Mind you, if these aids and devices were banned in examinations - then we'd really see who the real brains are!!!!!


Re: Exam cheats must die
Message #9 Posted by Patrick on 24 Aug 2003, 12:50 p.m.,
in response to message #8 by Richard

Due to the extreme importance of the task, the people who worked on the Enigma problem were hand picked throughout the entire allied population as being the most brilliant and appropriate to the task. Making a public education policy decision based on the fact that this elite group of people were brilliant and successful is nothing short of obtuse.

I have been on the exam-giving end of this equation. I think the onus should be on the instructors to set an exam for which technology cannot play a key role. For example, if I was teaching numerical integration techniques, it would be stupid of me to ask in an exam to numerically approximate some integral. A calculator of the HP-34C vintage could do that with the press of a few buttons. What I should ask is for the student to explain which numerical integration technique(s) should be used given the circumstances (smoothness of the function, existence of poles, required accuracy, time available). I might even ask for the student to show one step of the process (x -> x+h) in its entirety, just to see if the student understands what all the formulas mean. I, as an instructor, wouldn't care less what the numerical value of the integral over the entire region of integration actually was, which is all the 34C could really tell me.

Re: Exam cheats must die
Message #10 Posted by bill platt on 24 Aug 2003, 4:05 p.m.,
in response to message #9 by Patrick

Hi Patrick,

One of my preofessors said, "yes, you can bring your calculator if you like, but it won't do you any good." He was right. His questions required one to answer for the understanding, not the numerical answer. But he let us bring our calculators--because I suppose he was both confident in his questions, as well as perhaps mildly entertained when watching furious buttonpressing.


advanced stress analysis
Message #11 Posted by christof (NoVA US) on 25 Aug 2003, 12:39 a.m.,
in response to message #8 by Richard

Leaving aside the enigma machine (enigma was only decrypted in the first place due to samples of the hardware- the machine itself)-

Advanced Stress Analysis. - I really don't think that anything beyond a multiple choice exam cna be successfully passed simply by loading software into your hp48/49 or TI89/92. Even to do *that*, you have ot know enough to structure the problem. Even if the program you use is cribbed from the web, you have to be able to apply it. That requires at a bare minimum, the ability to think about the problem to some degree.

Beyond that, i'd like to point to the brain rotting experience of my last chemistry refresher course, where I was allowed to use any calculator I cared to bring. i was encouraged to use it, in fact- as the professor said that if you coldn't get accurate results in the real world, knowing the formulae wouldn't mena much.

She also required that you provide intermediate steps on the exam. Kind of hard to fake it with a downloaded 'brain plug' or whatever.

All of your supposed plug in modules for the brain model 41CX (I want the time module built in, after all) miss something very important. The ability to solve problems.

'who the real brains are' - while quite an ego booster, is not actually determined by who can memorize the most stuff. it's how you use it that counts, not what lists you've memorized.

Now, I realize that you disagree, and I accept that. But I'm a bit put off by the idea that one extremist view should hold sway.

The use of 'high tech calculators' allows a test giver to increase the quality of testing dramatically by structuring tests for understanding, for reasoning ability, for problem solving application- instead of worrying about who memorized a log table best, or who dropped a decimal point in an otherwise perfect pencil calculation. If the tests are not increased in quality, and you aren't able to show 'who the best brains are' without list memorization, that isn't the fault of the calculator- nor of the person who owns and uses the calculator.

another nickel, another post :) -Christof

Re: Exam cheats must die
Message #12 Posted by Geoff H. on 25 Aug 2003, 7:27 a.m.,
in response to message #11 by christof (NoVA US)

Surely people can manage without their "security blankets" - their professional aids and devices for 2 hours in an exam. After all, it's the process that matters and the abiltiy to understand the process and demonstrate that they understand the process( as has already been mentioned by others). Once you've proved your ability for 2 hours in an exam room in a TOTALLY AND COMPLETELY LEVEL PLAYING FIELD without the aid of these tehnological devices, you can then proceed to use anything and everything you want to use to solve all subsequent problems for the rest of your life - no restrictions whatsoever.

The pressing of a button on a machine is irrelevant and is the easiest part of the process. After all, computers, calculators and other technological aids are only GIGO (garbage-in-garbage-out) devices - they have no intelligence, no initiative - that ability comes from you and your demonstrated abilities - and that's what the exam is trying to establish. These devices are only prosthetics to enhance your abilities - they're not needed in the exam room to prove your ability to solve the problem or demonstrate your ability about how to solve the problem - therefore what's the point of having calculators in the exam room in the first place - if you know the process, that's what you're there to prove and you have nothing to worry about, calculators are not needed and are not necessary in the exam room.

The complexity and scope of the type of the exam questions has nothing to do with whether calculators should be allowed into the exam room. After all, as has been mentioned previously by others, the ability to solve the question depends solely on your skills and ability - you still have to derive the solution about how to resolve the problem no matter how complex or challenging it is - the calculator won't do that and having a HP48, HP49 or a PC won't resolve that delema for you - remember, they have no initiative, no intelligence they're just prosthetics - GIBO devices.

However when the HP4200Sii calculator (ii = double artificial intelligence) comes out in a hundred years from now with RBT - Reverse Robot Notation, then that will be a different story. The guy next to you in the exam room will be using one of these calculators and he will look like something out of TERMINATOR: JUDGEMENT DAY - so if he wants to use a calculator in the exam room the Board of Studies is going to have real problems telling him.

Speaking of "security blankets"
Message #13 Posted by Dave Hicks on 25 Aug 2003, 8:41 p.m.,
in response to message #12 by Geoff H.

A certain poster has used at least three names within this thread alone and many more names though-out the forum.

Please note that the forum rules require the use of a consistent identity. Please don't make up people who agree with you.

Re: We're in Total Agreement
Message #14 Posted by Paul Brogger on 26 Aug 2003, 1:11 a.m.,
in response to message #13 by Dave Hicks

I wanted to sign this with a pseudonym, but we wouldn't let me.

BTW, did you know that 3 out of 2 people suffer from multiple personality disorder?


Express a view - don't whinge obout the views of others
Message #15 Posted by M.F. on 26 Aug 2003, 9:38 a.m.,
in response to message #13 by Dave Hicks

Chill out man. You'll blow an artery. Don't be so serious just because you don't agree with a point of view. I don't have a problem with another point of view nor should you.

M.F. = Mathias_R = RODGER H =
Message #16 Posted by Dave Hicks on 26 Aug 2003, 11:12 a.m.,
in response to message #15 by M.F.

Roy Van Nygen = Geoff H = Richard = Orlando W. = Alexander = Scott = William = brian = Renard = max = daniel... etc.

These are all names for one person. (He's used a bunch more too.)

I noticed him because a long-time poster here told me he was leaving the forum because of some frequent trolls who had appeared recently. They turned out to be this person using other names.

Re: Speaking of "hyper-sensitive"
Message #17 Posted by Mathias_R on 26 Aug 2003, 9:59 a.m.,
in response to message #13 by Dave Hicks






Dear Dope...
Message #18 Posted by W. Bruce Maguire II on 26 Aug 2003, 4:39 p.m.,
in response to message #17 by Mathias_R

Dear Mr. Name-of-the-Minute:

You have succeeded it making it perfectly obvious to everyone that you are nothing but a troll, with some sort of mental problem...ahem..."special-ness".

To the one or two people who are still wasting their time with this thread---a reasonable subject, ruined by Mr. Chicken-Sh*t---I suggest immediately ignoring any post by a troll who doesn't even bother with a fake e-mail address, much less his real one!

And to Mr. Troll:

I feel sorry for you. We should all pity you. You are a special person! Now go away.


Re: Speaking of "security blankets"
Message #19 Posted by Paul Brogger on 26 Aug 2003, 10:30 a.m.,
in response to message #13 by Dave Hicks

Kidding aside, I don't think the objection is to alternative views, but to outright misrepresentation in the expression of any view. In a cool medium such as this discussion board, much is inferred from relatively few clues. It is patently deceptive to surreptitiously create "artificial pluralities" around issues by posing as several different people who happen to be in agreement.

That said, I appreciate the humor when someone emphasizes irony by signing a note with the name of a well-known individual. But in such cases, while the perpetrator's identity isn't necessarily clear, the fact that something is being perpetrated is.

Re: Speaking of "hypersensitive"
Message #20 Posted by RODGER H. (jnr) on 26 Aug 2003, 10:48 a.m.,
in response to message #19 by Paul Brogger

Who Cares?

Answer: No-one (well... maybe one solitary

irrelevant irate security blanket guy). (LO_very_L)

I'm still waiting for a message from ELVIS - I can

feel his presence in the room.

Re: Speaking of "hypersensitive"
Message #21 Posted by bill platt (les Estats Unis d'Amerique) on 26 Aug 2003, 12:53 p.m.,
in response to message #20 by RODGER H. (jnr)

Let it be duly noted that the multiple identity post-maker does not attach an e-mail address--is it because he is too chickens*** to give away any REAL identity?

That being said, I'll just ignore him. I don't think his duplicitous commentary causes any real harm---just consternation (perhaps a bit more even than the HP48 does).


Bill Platt

Re: Speaking of "hypersensitive"
Message #22 Posted by Wayne Brown on 27 Aug 2003, 8:48 a.m.,
in response to message #20 by RODGER H. (jnr)

Who Cares?
Well, I care, but only to the extent that when I see something like you on the sidewalk, I take care not to step in it.

Answer: No-one (well... maybe one solitary

irrelevant irate security blanket guy). (LO_very_L)

In case you're not aware, Dave Hicks owns this Web site and this Forum, and when he tells you not to use multiple names, you'd better listen. I appreciate him letting the rest of us know the names you've used, and I hope he will continue to do so if you decide to continue your dishnoesty. Better yet, perhaps he can block your worthless presence from the Forum altogether, you ungrateful jerk.
Re: Exam cheats must die
Message #23 Posted by Veli-Pekka Nousiainen on 26 Aug 2003, 6:15 a.m.,
in response to message #12 by Geoff H.

My dis/agreements:

1) tests should be made so that calculator doesn't "solve" your problems, you do!

2) I would ban calculator capable of solving the problems in question (at that level of education) because not all teachers can comply with 1) eg. TI 89/HP 49 banned on graduation test, but not in the university level. Graphing banned when functions are teached so that you're required to hand draw some graphs. etc.

3) Related to 2) there should be different levels of calculators allowed for different levels (grades) of education. Also math/physics/chemistry/etc. might have different restrictions. Global Guidelines should be given and national guidelines enforced.


Re: Exam cheats must die
Message #24 Posted by Roy Van Nygen on 26 Aug 2003, 9:18 a.m.,
in response to message #23 by Veli-Pekka Nousiainen

I'm in total agreement Veli-Pekka - but watch yourself the thought police are patrolling this site to exclude anyone expressing free speech and anyone who expresses a point of view different from his!! WOW this guy is FRIGHTENINGLY serious - I think he got upset that someone found out that he needs his securtiy blanket HP4200Sii to sing him a lullaby at night before he go to sleep. Probably also uses a HP49 to tally up his grocery shopping - WOW impressive guy (LOL).

Thank God I'm a TI fanatic - some HP fanatics are a real worry!!!

The Turing Bombe
Message #25 Posted by christof (NoVA US) on 23 Aug 2003, 4:29 p.m.,
in response to message #5 by Richard

If you mean the Poles, they broke Enigma in the 1930s. Probably without the aid of machines.

After the Germans improved the Enigma, when the Allies were breaking it, a guy named Alan Turing built a machine to do the job. A computer of sorts.

Alan Turing is dead, yes. Whether or not his use of a machine makes him a cheate risn't really relevant- there was a war to win :)

Re: The Turing Bombe
Message #26 Posted by Alexander on 24 Aug 2003, 5:39 a.m.,
in response to message #25 by christof (NoVA US)

Regarding the first computer(calculator)???? during World War 2 ....Yeah right!! ... and the Wright Brothers first air plane was an AIRLINE!!!!! capable of Trans-Atlantic flight and solving world travel problems. My child's basic calculator has more power than the first supposed computer/calculator during WW2.

Re: The Turing Bombe
Message #27 Posted by David Smith on 24 Aug 2003, 6:16 p.m.,
in response to message #25 by christof (NoVA US)

Actually the Poles also designed and built the first Bombes... They realized that they needed a machine to break the Enigma machine.

Re: Exam cheats must die
Message #28 Posted by r. d. bärtschiger. on 23 Aug 2003, 4:34 p.m.,
in response to message #5 by Richard

Didn't the personel at Bletchley use something called a 'Bombe' to help crack the Enigma codes? And was it not revealed not too long ago that the first computer was developed at Bletchley? A title which heretofore had been claimed by Univac. Research the site

for further information. The recent film Enigma, (2001) has a few scenes of a 'Bombe' at work. It may not look like a computer, however it sure seems to be computing something.


Re: Exam cheats must die
Message #29 Posted by Ernie Malaga on 23 Aug 2003, 5:35 p.m.,
in response to message #5 by Richard

Excuse me for saying so, but your attitude reminds me of the classical Greeks (Pythagoreans) who insisted that all numbers were rational and that all geometrical constructs be made with compass and straightedge alone.

This (equally narrow-minded) attitude resulted in 2000+ years of fruitless toil for circle squarers, angle trisecters, and cube doublers.

Technophobia is plain irrational. If you start rejecting technology just because it is technology, where do you stop? Are we to give up cars, air conditioning, vaccines, the internet, and so on?


Re: Exam cheats must die
Message #30 Posted by David Smith on 24 Aug 2003, 6:15 p.m.,
in response to message #5 by Richard

I think that anybody taking a professional exam should be allowed to bring anything and everything they would have access to in the real world to the exam. You want to see if they can solve problems using the tools that they would have available to them in real life. Testing their ability to remember some equation, etc is just plain ridiculous.

Calculators became "available" my senior year in high school. Our physics teacher debated whether to let us use them on exams. After playing with one a while he realized that he could give real world problems instead of ones contrived to be answerable with a slide rule, etc. His only concern was what if some poor (financially) student did not have one. That was not a problem since everybody in the class had access to one. All the people taking that high school class also placed out of college level physics courses.

Re: This Will Boost R & D, Sales of Scientific Calcs
Message #31 Posted by db(martinez,california) on 23 Aug 2003, 8:05 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by J.C. Randerson

One thing for those of you who have not sat for one of these exams: you can take in as many books, tables, drafting supplies, and notes as you want, including the correct answers to years of earlier tests.

As i remember; NCEES did something like this once before, by banning programmable calcs (although i know they were allowed when i passed the LSIT in '86). Does anyone else remember the test from that era and the most common sound in the hall: the "BEEP beep BEEP beep - aw SHIT!" from us 41 owners who forgot to put it back in user? They now try to write many of the questions so you cannot just plug and crank using the common programs or at least to force you to lie to the program to get the right answer.

The second half of the questions on the L.S. exam (and i guess the P.E. too) come from practicing professionals. They require judgment and the ability to describe your thought process - not just a numeric answer. It might be possible to get the wrong answer on the majority of the questions and still pass the test by showing a mastery of the theory, law, history, and logic involved - but i wouldn't bet on it.

Re: This Will Boost R & D, Sales of Scientific Calcs
Message #32 Posted by Todd G on 23 Aug 2003, 10:53 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by J.C. Randerson

I think one area of concern here is that a lot of new calculators can communicate with each other via infrared. I believe it is these features, and not the programmable aspects of the calculators, that have the engineering exam folks in an uproar.

My wife is a university professor (biochemistry), and she does not allow calculators with communication functions, text pagers, beepers, or the like. People have used these devices to share answers with their friends. It's sad, but most of the good, high performance calculators that engineers use have these functions.

Re: Exam cheats must die
Message #33 Posted by Orlando W. on 24 Aug 2003, 9:15 a.m.,
in response to message #32 by Todd G

If you were to decide which potential employee to hire for your high tech company, which person would you be likely to employ - the person who solved a highly complex exam paper using no technological aids such as calculators, computers or other devices ... or the one who solved exactly the same complex exam paper using all technological aids available with no restrictions whatsoever.

I would be hiring the first - if he can solve the complex problem without technological aids, there's a fair chance he also has the abilty to solve the same problem USING technological aids and devices. The reciprical situation in most cases is unlikely to be the case i.e. the person dependent on using available technological aids is usually incapable of coping without the aid of these devices to solve the problem.... there available "YA JUST GOTTA USE THEM" mentality.

Who's the more capable - the young 8 year old school kid who can do maths in his head to solve the problem, or the younger 7 year old school kid who uses a calculator to add up!!! The 8 year old must be an idiot and should know better because he doesn't take advantage of the available technological devices at his disposal like the "smart" and absolutely "brilliant" 7 year old. The "smart" 7 year old has proved his perceptive skills and demonstrated how "ingenious" and "brilliant" he is by using an available advanced technological device or tool to do the work for him to solve the problem ...yeah right... The 8 year old has proved how stupid he is by not using a calculator to do the problem....what a Dumb-***se!

Believe me, I work with idiots who believe everything has to be done using all available technological devices ... most can't wipe their own ***ses unless a technological device is available to assist them to do it (in most cases their wives come to the rescue ... the "use all resources available" philosophy... why do it by your own means).

Re: Exam cheats must die
Message #34 Posted by Stephen Sester on 25 Aug 2003, 1:11 a.m.,
in response to message #33 by Orlando W.


I beg to differ with you.

A student must understand a problem and it's correct solution methodology if he/she is to program a calculator to solve the problem. I have done this many times and usually I learn several different ways to solve the problem that would not have been evident if I had just worked the problem once on paper. This type of programming is also a very valuable skill for an engineer.

Another HP calculator feature that I really value is unit conversions...I understand units and their inter-relationships but under time pressure, one is susceptible to making careless errors and the calculator unit conversions enable a quick double check. Judging from the past mistakes of some very prominent scientists and engineers, even the best of us make simple mistakes sometimes. Calculators help us to catch these errors in the office or at the exam table not in a catastrophic failure or an unexpectedly bad grade. NCEES should understand and appreciate this!

For yourself, perhaps this isn't an issue...but I doubt it. At any rate, I wish you the best of continued perfection, :/


Message #35 Posted by christof (NoVA US) on 25 Aug 2003, 5:03 p.m.,
in response to message #34 by Stephen Sester

The statistics course I learned the most from was the one where the professor looked at my 28s and told me that if I was capable of programming what I needed to pass tests, I deserved to pass the tests.

It worked. I learned a a *lot*


Re: Calculators and exams-- students hate me.
Message #36 Posted by Michael Meyer on 26 Aug 2003, 1:02 a.m.,
in response to message #35 by christof (NoVA US)

I don't know, but there may be some students in one of my classes who still hate me 20 years later.

During a college statistics class (1981), calculators were allowed and really required for exams. I shared with the professor that I'd programmed all of the statistics on my TI-59. I proudly showed him the programs with each new concept learned. I understood the concepts better having programmed each of them.

On the day of the final, he passed out the exam and then announced: "I wrote this final exam with Mr. Meyer in mind."

There wasn't a single problem to work! It was all questions about theory!

I scored 100%, but there just may be some fellow former classmates who hate me for that day.


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