News

EDITORIAL: Are M/C exams a rip-off?

Please choose the best answer.
Multiple-choice examinations are:
a) Easy as pie
b) An insult to your intelligence
c) A waste of your time and money
d) Far too common in science and large courses

To figure this out, let’s do some math. UM costs full-time students $12,919 per semester, in just tuition. At 15 credits, the average course load, this averages to $861.27 per credit, or $2583.80 per 3-credit course. In certain courses (in the biology and chemistry departments, for example), your grade for the semester is solely based on three multiple-choice examinations of, let’s say, fifty questions each. Therefore, $2583.80 divided into these 150 questions that determine your entire grade gives an average of $17.23 per question. Obviously the value for each question would be different under other circumstances. If there are more questions or four instead of three tests, the value will decrease, and if the teacher determines the grade by using a curve, some questions will increase in value while others decrease.
However, the problem is that no student realizes, when in the high-stress environment of the examination, how much these questions are worth, both academically and economically. If you studied and were well prepared, then you are closer to realizing the full value of your education. But the average student is susceptible to the Glorious Xmas-Tree Method of Multiple Choice Tests. Under the pressure of time, the honor code, and the myriad of other stressors of student life, we forget how much we’re spending to choose between the letters A, B, C, and D (or T and F).
We deserve better for our tuition payments. Yes, professors have argued for years that M/C examinations are much more convenient because (choose the best answer): A) the class size is too large, B) the material is not suited for essay format, C) The TA doesn’t like to do work, or D) Because I said so. Yet it is a tragedy of modern education when we exchange convenience for the chance for a more thorough and expressive (rather than recall) learning.
It is obvious that at $17.23 per question none of us is paying that much attention. When we accept the “norm” or M/C tests, we are denying ourselves the access to a more comprehensive relationship with the professor and the material; we just repeat like parrots what we learned in the text. In the absence of M/C exams, we can be assured more patient and intimate contact with the course and ultimately more bang for our bucks.

The Miami Hurricane will soon consider applications for the position of Opinion Editor for the spring semester of 2004. Applicants may be of any major or school, or any grade level, but must be students. It is encouraged that applicants be able to hold the position through the fall semester of the next year. Stay tuned to this space for more information regarding application dates, portfolio requirements, and interviews.

September 26, 2003

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

Pro Football Focus unveiled where Power 5 programs rank in tackles for a loss or no gain against the ...

A six-pack of Hurricanes notes on a Thursday evening: ▪ UM coach Mark Richt has explained his decisi ...

Braylen Ingraham’s final college visit before decision day took him just about as far from home as p ...

The Miami Hurricanes had traveled half the field to start the second half when coach Mark Richt enco ...

Jeremiah Payton was one of those prospects the Miami Hurricanes coveted from just about the time he ...

UM’s annual Food Day celebration will highlight the need to eat sustainable, locally sourced foods ...

University of Miami changes program title of Women’s and Gender Studies to Gender and Sexuality Stud ...

Two families with deep ties to Miami—the Millers and Fains— celebrate two endowed faculty chair appo ...

The University of Miami remembers alumnus Erik Hauri—the man who discovered water on the moon. ...

Through an innovative program, Miami Law students are empowering local high schoolers to think like ...

The Miami women's tennis team turned in a strong showing Saturday at the ITA Southeast Regional ...

On the first day of Main Draw action at the ITA Southeast Regional Championships Presented by Oracle ...

The University of Miami soccer team closes out action in the Tar Heel state with a match against thi ...

The Miami women's tennis team opened play Friday at the ITA Southeast Regional Championships Pr ...

The Miami Hurricanes fell in their tri-meet with Georgia Tech and Notre Dame Saturday afternoon, dro ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.