• Support PF! Buy your school textbooks, materials and every day products Here!

Other My teacher gave out pratice exams?

Hello, I am taking pre-calculus in college. However, I am worried that my class has grade inflation in it. My teacher gave out practice exam which is the same as the exams except with the numbers switched. How worried should I be if he did this?
 
32,838
4,562
Hello, I am taking pre-calculus in college. However, I am worried that my class has grade inflation in it. My teacher gave out practice exam which is the same as the exams except with the numbers switched. How worried should I be if he did this?
Of all the things to worry about, this should be somewhere down around the bottom of your list. Many teachers will give practice exams to help students know what topics are high priority.
 
Of all the things to worry about, this should be somewhere down around the bottom of your list. Many teachers will give practice exams to help students know what topics are high priority.
Allow me to elaborate further.

I talked to a math tutor who also happens to be a math professor. I asked him if his class gives a study guide of some sort. He said," I don't give out practice exams. Some colleges forbid teachers from doing that. People will do the exam and not do the homework. Classes like that result in grade inflation." I begun to worry about my class because my teacher gives out practice exams which results in grade inflation. How worried should I be about this?
 
Last edited:

Vanadium 50

Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Education Advisor
23,358
5,728
How worried should I be about this?
Of all the things to worry about, this should be somewhere down around the bottom of your list. Many teachers will give practice exams to help students know what topics are high priority.
I don't see how this changes anything.
 
32,838
4,562
He said," I don't give out practice exams. Some colleges forbid teachers from doing that."
"Some colleges" ?? Which ones are those? Teachers have considerable flexibility in how they measure performance in a class, all falling under the heading of academic freedom. I've worked as a teacher in one university and three community colleges; none of them had an strictures on how testing was to be performed.
apple_mango01 said:
"People will do the exam and not do the homework."
If said professor collects and grades the homework, by and large the students will do it.
apple_mango01 said:
"Classes like that result in grade inflation."
This sounds more like an opinion than a fact. Grade inflation is the result of assigning passing grades to students who don't show mastery of the material.
I begun to worry about my class because my teacher gives out practice exams which results in grade inflation. How worried should I be about this?
Not. I taught math at the college level (in a community college) for 18 years. I would sometimes give a list of problems similar to the ones I put on the exam. As I said before, a set of practice problems conveys to the students some sense of what topics are high priority and what topics aren't.
 
"Some colleges" ?? Which ones are those? Teachers have considerable flexibility in how they measure performance in a class, all falling under the heading of academic freedom. I've worked as a teacher in one university and three community colleges; none of them had an strictures on how testing was to be performed.
If said professor collects and grades the homework, by and large the students will do it.
I can't remember the name of the college he said.

This sounds more like an opinion than a fact. Grade inflation is the result of assigning passing grades to students who don't show mastery of the material.
Not. I taught math at the college level (in a community college) for 18 years. I would sometimes give a list of problems similar to the ones I put on the exam. As I said before, a set of practice problems conveys to the students some sense of what topics are high priority and what topics aren't.
I can't remember the name of the colleges the math tutor said. My own math teacher doesn't even grade the homework himself.


I am quite aware that there are teachers who give out practice problems which conveys a sense of what topics are high priority and what aren't. However, his practice exams aren't like the ones you gives out. His practice exams is identical to the actual exams except with the numbers switched. I am worried that this might result in grade inflation.
 
32,838
4,562
I am worried that this might result in grade inflation.
So you've said -- three times. I'm starting to suspect that you don't understand what grade inflation is. Let's say that at the end of this class you get your grade. What is your concern that your grade might be "inflated"?
 

symbolipoint

Homework Helper
Education Advisor
Gold Member
5,704
962
I am quite aware that there are teachers who give out practice problems which conveys a sense of what topics are high priority and what aren't. However, his practice exams aren't like the ones you gives out. His practice exams is identical to the actual exams except with the numbers switched. I am worried that this might result in grade inflation.
STOP WORRYING! Pre-Calculus is a hard course with good topics. Your goal is to learn. Doing your homework helps you to learn, so skipping it is only counter-productive. Further, seeing an example test for practice does not interfere with your skills at using your skills and knowledge of the topics you study. Instead of worrying, too, about grade inflation, focus on what and how much YOU ARE LEARNING.
 
So you've said -- three times. I'm starting to suspect that you don't understand what grade inflation is. Let's say that at the end of this class you get your grade. What is your concern that your grade might be "inflated"?
I probably didn't understand the pre-calculus all that well as I should had because I relied on the practice exams.
 

symbolipoint

Homework Helper
Education Advisor
Gold Member
5,704
962
I probably didn't understand the pre-calculus all that well as I should had because I relied on the practice exams.
Does that mean, you skipped doing the homework assignments? That is how Pre-Calculus students fail the course.
 

symbolipoint

Homework Helper
Education Advisor
Gold Member
5,704
962
Instructor who gives you a practice exam to be like the regular exam is doing this to give you help on knowing the way the regular examination will be. This is a good thing. The practice exam is not any kind of replacement for the needed study.
 

Dr. Courtney

Education Advisor
Insights Author
Gold Member
2018 Award
2,981
1,920
"Some colleges" ?? Which ones are those? Teachers have considerable flexibility in how they measure performance in a class, all falling under the heading of academic freedom. I've worked as a teacher in one university and three community colleges; none of them had an strictures on how testing was to be performed.

This is not true everywhere. At the Air Force Academy and West Point, all sections of intro math and physics courses use exactly the same assessments which are chosen by a course director rather than individual class instructors. Testing was performed under rigorous strictures to assure that a given grade in one section of a course was equivalent to the same grade in other sections of the course. Giving out materials like practice exams would have to be approved by the course director, and the materials would have to be provided to every student in every section of the course, not just student in one instructor's class. In practice, I don't recall practice exams ever being provided. Students could distribute exams from previous semesters among themselves, but the usefulness of these varied and was lower when changes were made to courses, and final exams were not available, because the departments retained them.

These strictures were very effective in ensuring an adequate level of academic rigor across sections that might have as many as 1000 students enrolled in 50 sections taught by as many as 20 different instructors.

But to the OPs original question, do the best you can to learn and earn a good grade in the course. If you have a concern regarding whether you are adequately prepared for downstream courses, sigh up for an ALEKS on-line Precalculus course. Well-prepared students will complete 100% of their ALEKS pie in a week or two. The system will automatically determine weak areas and provide more practice in those areas until you are strong in every area of Precalculus. Completing 100% of the ALEKS pie is the gold standard for knowing Precalculus well enough for downstream courses that rely on it.

This path is effective regardless of what level of grade gifting or grade inflation may have occurred in a student's classroom Precalculus experience.
 
1,418
754
I begun to worry about my class because my teacher gives out practice exams which results in grade inflation.
Unless your teacher is a very young one and acting against the policy there it is most likely happened for the previous year and the year before that and even before that in every year -> no inflation, no need to worry: it is just how your college works.

Having or not having practice exams might slightly effect the... direction of the exam, but it is still useful both way. Just prepare properly and do your best.
 

Choppy

Science Advisor
Education Advisor
Insights Author
4,505
1,598
If you're really worried about grade inflation (and I don't think you should be), spend some time looking into where recent graduates of your program are ending up. If they're getting decent jobs, into graduate schools, and into professional programs at roughly the same rates as other schools, you know you have nothing to worry about.

A few more reasons not to worry about it...
The reason admissions committees look at grade point averages is that for every class you take where a professor makes it a little easier, it's equally probable that you'll encounter a professor that makes it a little more challenging. Over the course of an undergraduate degree you'll take roughly 40 courses. These professor-specific factors tend to average out.

Second, if you're concerned about something like admissions to graduate school, remember it's pretty common to use the PGRE as a mitigating factor for school-specific differences. It's not a perfect mitigator of course, but it does tend to create a more level playing field.

Third, this is a pre-calculus course. If you're planning on going into a STEM field, it won't even be close to the most advanced math courses that you'll take. People are going to care a lot more about your upper level courses.

Fourth, you're in the class now and can't do anything about whether the grades are inflated or not. Learn the material to the best of your ability. Get the best mark you can. Move on.
 

Dr. Courtney

Education Advisor
Insights Author
Gold Member
2018 Award
2,981
1,920
A few more reasons not to worry about it...
The reason admissions committees look at grade point averages is that for every class you take where a professor makes it a little easier, it's equally probable that you'll encounter a professor that makes it a little more challenging. Over the course of an undergraduate degree you'll take roughly 40 courses. These professor-specific factors tend to average out.
This assumes there is no systematic factor such as administrative pressure pushing more of the professors in one direction rather than another. I've known several schools exerting administrative pressure to make classes easier to improve student success and retention. I can't think of a single case of administrative pressure to increase academic rigor. Gifting grades pumps up student success rates, ensures better student evaluations, and reduces student complaints to the admins. Maintaining academic rigor reduces student success rates, creates disgruntled students and lower student evals, and increases student complaints to the admins.

The PGRE is only a mitigating factor if the student is an average or better test taker. A combination of a school whose reputation is on the slide due to grade inflation and a student who fails to demonstrate their true capability on the PGRE would be an unfortunate combination.
 

Related Threads for: My teacher gave out pratice exams?

  • Last Post
Replies
19
Views
3K
  • Last Post
Replies
10
Views
3K
Replies
8
Views
2K
Replies
8
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
6
Views
5K
Replies
1
Views
4K
Replies
3
Views
3K

Hot Threads

Top