>I was having a chat to a teacher of senior (ie grade 11 and grade 12) >mathematics a few days ago, and the question of whether students should be >given rules, identities and formulas on exams was raised. The question was >raised in the context of trig identities and index laws, but obviously has >wider applicability. Should we supply on the exam paper such things as >sin^2 + cos^2 = 1, (ab)^n = a^n b^n, log(ab) = log a + log b, the chain
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Depends on the level, I would say, and JUST what you are trying to test (and/or teach). In any case discussing this with a professor, he suggested that the burden be put on the student. Rather than supply them with, allow them to bring, for example, a card with anything written on it. He felt that students would do a little more focused thinking in preparation.
Have tried both letting them bring almost anything but their book and just a sheet. It perhaps helps as a psychological crutch, but not much in solving problems. On a personal level when I used to work as an 'applied' mathematican I definitely depended on my knowledge of where to find hints to solve problems rather than absolute knowlege. There is just too much to know.
Another point. If I do supply 'aids', then I raise the level of 'difficulty'.