Monthly Archives: December 2011

Positive and negative feedback

Time to take a seasonal break from my rather tedious recent posts and to return to a reflection on feedback. The column ‘Feedback’ (what else!) on the penultimate page of the Christmas and New Year New Scientist special (24/31 December … Continue reading

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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

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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

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Function or derivative?

The common student error in the question below is somewhat predictable – but I’m not sure why the students make the error that they do. Whilst 60.4% of responses are entirely correct, 21.7% select the three options that are actually the places where … Continue reading

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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

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