We hope the exam went well for all you students, or all your students (tick whichever applies).
We haven’t looked at the exam yet, but in any case we’ll first give others time to comment. Fire when ready.
Exam 2 discussion is now up, here.
Thank you all for your comments. Here are our thoughts, pretty much in line with others’, but we think there are a few things still to be said, and two separate posts to write.
Globally, there are three aspects worth noting:
- The exam appears to contain no major errors;
- The exam is way, way too easy;
- The writing is woeful.
On the first point, there are nonetheless one minor and two semi-major errors, as indicated below. They are not hanging offences, but they are whipping offences. These errors should not occur, and they would not occur if the exams were properly vetted.
On the second point, commenters have noted the obvious problem with the easy exam, that the better students get shortchanged, and VCAA’s inevitable nitpicking gains weight. Also, a couple of the questions are sufficiently confusing that we think it likely there will be a lottery effect; others, who know better their students and Methods-Speak, may disagree.
On the third point, we’ve decided to make a point of the point. The writing is sufficiently, gratuitously bad that we’ll have a separate post on it. Just quickly, again, proper vetting would not permit such a poorly written exam to be approved.
Here are our question by question thoughts. We’ll try to stick to the mathematics, in the main leaving issues with the wording for the dedicated post.
Q1. Routine. One would hope that the instruction to “simplify” in part (b) does not require the factoring out of the minus sign.
Q2. Part (a) is an instance where the writing is so poor that it has led to error. The question is simply not asking what VCAA thinks it is asking. Part (b) is nice (modulo wording), although 3 marks seems generous.
Q3. Pretty minus signy, but routine and fine.
Q4. A very badly structured (and worded) question. We’ve decided it’s bad enough to warrant its own WitCH, here. The question is easy, but we suspect students won’t do that well on it, simply because of the way it has been presented.
Q5. The questions are OK, but 5 marks seems very generous for a little simple algebra.
Q6. An OK question, clouded by very clumsy wording. Intrinsically a better question than Q4, but again it seems likely that some students, who would otherwise have answered the question well, will have failed to decipher parts. Part (c)(iii) has gone further and into error; the question is not asking what VCAA thinks it is asking.
Q7. A pretty silly and simple question, framed around very silly modelling, but OK. As commenters have noted, awarding Year 12 students a mark for finding the area of a 20 x 20 square is pretty damn funny.
Q8. Intrinsically a good question, but not framed well and probably in effect too cutthroat. It would have been clearer and fairer to have introduced the question by explicitly writing A(k) as the integral of f. We’re guessing many students will be confused by the initial wording, and will do poorly simply because they couldn’t get going. As commenters have noted, k = 0 should have been excluded in part (c); it is mathematically OK to include k = 0, but it is unnecessary, it confusingly jumps the scenario from continuous to discrete, and it is probably illegal within the constraints of VCAA’s curriculum.