Category Archives: question analysis

Same assignment, different students 3

You’ll be getting the idea… The figures below show, for each question, the number of students who got it right at first attempt (yellow), second attempt (green), third attempt (blue), or not at all (maroon). So the total height of each bar … Continue reading

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Same assignment, different students 2

Following on from my previous post, take a look at the two figures below. They show how students’ overall score on an iCMA varied with the date they submitted. These figures are for the same two assignments as in the … Continue reading

Same assignment, different students

I’ve written quite a lot previously about what you can learn about student misunderstandings and student engagement by looking at their use of computer-marked assiggnments. See my posts under ‘question analysis’ and ‘student engagement’. Recently, I had cause to take … Continue reading

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More about guessing and blank/repeated responses

Depressingly, this post reports a similar finding to the last one. For the  question shown (which is one of a series of linked questions on the Maths for Science  formative-only practice assessment), 62% of students are right at the first attempt … Continue reading

Is the difficulty calculus or negative numbers?

As you’ll have realised, I’m currently analysing responses to questions on calculus. Maths for Science teaches just very basic differentiation and the position of the chapter on differentiation will be different in the revised edition of the course. In the new … Continue reading

Estimating the gradient of curves – variants behaving differently

The screenshots below show two variants of the same question. I should start by emphasising that the question is only used formatively – it’s on the Maths for Science Practice Assignment. The two variants behave very differently and the reason … Continue reading

Unit conversions

As previously discussed, students aren’t great at giving correct units with their answers. However they have real probems with unit conversions! The unit conversion shown on the left  is exceptionally badly answered, and a lot of students give up without even … Continue reading

More errors in finding the gradient of a graph

Working yesterday on the chapter on Graphs and Gradient for the new edition of Maths for Science, I remembered the other student error that I have seen in iCMA questions. When asked to find the gradient of a graph like … Continue reading

Errors in finding the gradient of a graph

Consider the simple question shown below: This question is generally well answered, but when students make a mistake, what do they do wrong?

BODMAS, BIDMAS, BEDMAS

More on simple arithmetic skills that people don’t always understand as well as they think they do, leading to difficulties at a later stage. In the OU Science Faculty we use the mnemonic BEDMAS (others use BODMAS or BIDMAS) to … Continue reading