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Topic: Failing Linear Algebra:
Replies: 91   Last Post: Jan 10, 2007 12:56 PM

 Messages: [ Previous | Next ]
 Dave Rusin Posts: 3,118 Registered: 12/6/04
Re: Failing Linear Algebra:
Posted: Apr 29, 2004 11:47 AM

In article <1qp1901bp0lbpc55iq0l2s13a5l0oh1ghv@4ax.com>,
David C. Ullrich <ullrich@math.okstate.edu> wrote:

>>>PS -- This student's definition is no worse than the average that I
>>>would get here from a student preparing for our final exam.

>>
>>So why am I not getting a C?

>
>What gives you the idea that if you're doing as well as the average
>student in the class you have a C coming?

Actually, only about half of our linear algebra course focuses on the
underlying theory, that is, half of the final exam reads "Prove...",
"Show..." or "Explain..."; the other half reads "Find...", or "Calculate..."
and students who are really adroit at matrix calculations (eigenvalues,
Gram-Schmidt, etc.) can still get a C in the course with a very
halting command of linear independence and so on. We have tried to be
responsive to the departments like meteorology and economics whose
students never see vectors in any other format than column vectors in R^n.
(Can you say, "Rochester"?) Sad but true. I prefer to think of it as
"being on the cutting edge of moral flexibility".

Of course as David Ullrich is perhaps suggesting, there's no reason to
think that the average student needs to get a C in a course. The
university's description of the letter grades suggests that there is a
"curve" for all classes, e.g. that C means "average", but in the math
department at least, grades are usually assigned against an absolute
standard, e.g. C means "acceptable" or something like that. It is often
the case that the average student performance is unacceptable (and
occasionally true that the average performance is excellent, i.e. the
average student in a class gets an A ).

dave

Date Subject Author
4/24/04 Daniel Grubb
4/24/04 Marc Olschok
4/24/04 Daniel Grubb
4/24/04 Marc Olschok
4/24/04 Daniel Grubb
4/24/04 Thomas Nordhaus
4/24/04 Dave Rusin
4/25/04 Jonathan Miller
4/25/04 Felix Goldberg
4/24/04 Daniel Grubb
4/28/04 Tim Mellor
4/28/04 James Dolan
4/28/04 Daniel Grubb
4/28/04 James Dolan
4/28/04 Daniel Grubb
4/28/04 gersh@bialer.com
4/29/04 Daniel Grubb
4/29/04 Dave Rusin
4/28/04 Guest
4/29/04 Guest
4/28/04 Guest
1/10/07 David C. Ullrich
4/29/04 Dave Rusin
4/28/04 Guest
1/10/07 Law Hiu Chung
1/10/07 Dave Seaman
1/10/07 Marc Olschok
1/10/07 George Cox
4/28/04 Guest
1/10/07 Dave Rusin
4/28/04 Lee Rudolph
4/28/04 Guest
4/28/04 Guest
1/10/07 Marc Olschok
1/10/07 Toni Lassila
4/29/04 Guest
1/10/07 M L
1/10/07 Thomas Nordhaus
4/30/04 Guest
1/10/07 David C. Ullrich
1/10/07 Toni Lassila
4/30/04 Guest
1/10/07 George Cox
1/10/07 Marc Olschok
4/30/04 Guest
4/30/04 Guest
4/27/04 Guest
1/10/07 Thomas Nordhaus
1/10/07 David C. Ullrich
1/10/07 Dave Rusin
1/10/07 David C. Ullrich
5/9/04 James Dolan
5/10/04 David C. Ullrich
5/10/04 James Dolan
5/10/04 David C. Ullrich
5/10/04 Marc Olschok
5/10/04 David C. Ullrich
4/27/04 Guest
1/10/07 Thomas Nordhaus
4/27/04 Guest
1/10/07 magidin@math.berkeley.edu
1/10/07 David C. Ullrich
1/10/07 Marc Olschok
1/10/07 David C. Ullrich
1/10/07 Tim Mellor
4/28/04 Daniel Grubb
4/28/04 Daniel Grubb
4/27/04 Guest
1/10/07 David C. Ullrich
4/28/04 Dave Rusin
4/28/04 Daniel Grubb
4/27/04 Guest
1/10/07 Marc Olschok
4/24/04 Wayne Brown
4/24/04 Thomas Nordhaus
4/24/04 David Ames