Archive for the ‘Exam’ Category

Laborous questions in a test

2007 March 13

Why must instructors give a very “long” problem which doesn’t test understanding any better than a “shorter” problem?

Here’s an example problem to test the understanding of shift cipher:

Encrypt the plaintext “example” using the shift cipher with key B.

That problem should suffice. However here’s what some instructors like to give:

Encrypt the plaintext “iliketoseemystudentssufferhahahaiamevil” using the shift cipher with key P.

The second problem isn’t intellectually harder, it’s just more laborous!

I can forsee a similar agony in a microbiology test:

The nucleotide sequence of one DNA strand of a DNA double helix is:
-GGAGATCGCATGCATGCACAGCTGACGATGCA-
(dunno whether it is realistic, I just typed the ATGCs randomly)
What is the sequence of the complementary strand?

Isn’t a strand of -ATGC- enough?

PS: Oh and about that second example, it’s actually quite nice considering that my instructor gave a LONGER ciphertext to encrypt… Unbelievable…