Date: May 29, 1995 8:24 AM
Author: Rex Boggs
Subject: Rules and Formulas - Supplied or Not?
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

rule for differential calculus, etc,, and concentrate on whether students

can apply the correct rule correctly. Or are these part of the body of

mathematical knowledge that a good student should have at their fingertips?

In Queensland, we have external exams for mature age learners. The Maths in

Society exam has the formulas supplied, the Maths B and Maths C exams

(roughly equivalent to Algebra II, and Calculus and Analytical Geometry)

don't. So even within our system there appears to be differing attitudes.

I would be interested to find out what other teachers at this level think.

Cheers

Rex Boggs

*********

Rex Boggs | High above the hushed crowd,

rex@cq-pan.cqu.edu.au | Rex tried to remain focused.

| Still, he couldn't shake one

Glenmore High School | nagging thought: He was an

Rockhampton, Quensland | old dog and this was a new

Australia | trick - Gary Larson