Best Exam Answer Ever?

As a professor, I love it when students show that they are reading questions very carefully, and do not simply give the answer they assume the professor wants to hear. Here’s a great example shared by Marc Cortez:

  • Robert Fisher

    Funny? Sure. (I laughed.) But it is still a wrong answer and not clever. Both because observer A isn’t dead until the train hits them (and thus no longer in front of it), and because “direct” here is clearly about angle rather than distance. We have an obligation to try to understand what others mean. So, this earns both a laugh and points off. If the student had merely also provided an answer, they could’ve been both funny and right.

  • Robertgates

    jesus Robert.. who the fuck cares?  It was funny.  NObody needs the math lesson.

    • Robert Fisher

      I’m sorry, I don’t understand what you mean by “NObody needs a math lesson.”

      I agree. It was funny. I make the same kind of jokes myself.

      I also believe we have an obligation to try to understand what others mean and consider the context.

      I care about that because not doing it causes so many problems. Since this seemed to me to celebrate not doing so–on a blog that covers a topic where this is particularly important–I thought it worth commenting on.

      • dino

        we need more robert fishers in the world, good stuff sir.

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    Thanks, Robert, for reading the question even more carefully than I did. I agree that it would have been wiser to also answer the question, had the student been able to. And it might have been equally humorous, but more contextually apt, for the student to have commented that unless Observer A stops listening to and pondering the train and instead gets out of the way, he will not live to tell what he heard.

    But I still think it was funny. :-)

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  • Howard Mazzaferro

    Observer A would have heard (past tense) the whistle at 388.63 Hz before he died.

  • Hugh G. Rection

    I think you guys take life a little too seriously.  There is a time for everything and this was obviously a time for comedy.  It seems far fetched to make any serious analysis of the student or the direction society is heading based off one test answer.  Just smile and open a text book if it bothers you.  Cheers

    • Robert

      Of course there’s a time for comedy. That was my point! ^_^ I think you take my comments too…well…differently than they were intended.

  • http://evolutionguide.blogspot.com/ William

    I have seen a couple like that, such as the question “find x” and the obvious answer “here is x”.

  • http://twitter.com/UsedCarpetClean UsedCarpetCleaning

    this was funny until I read the comments and y’all sucked the fun right out of it.  Other than proving you are smarter than a high school student, there is no point in commenting as such.

    It’s cute and funny: tuck away your ego, shut your mouth, and move on. Done.

  • Anonymous

    As a math teacher who’s seen all the “expand this” and “find x” jokes, I thought this was a pretty good one, on par with “there is an elephant in the way.”  ( http://farm1.static.flickr.com/145/377437969_d0f88c6342.jpg for the elephant)


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