Last month we posted a PoSWW on a 2022 Queensland MCQ exam question, for which the accompanying exam report indicated the wrong answer. It is depressingly unclear why QCAA had not been previously alerted to the error, but a couple weeks after our PoSWW appeared, QCAA updated their exam report: in the amended report QCAA indicates the correct answer (p 27), and they also indicate in a footnote that the correction had been made.
For QCAA to have done this was professional and classy. It was also important. The uncorrected report invited, effectively demanded, a mathematical misconception (on inflection points); by correcting the report, QCAA ensured that their exam-report could no longer be relied upon as an authority for this misconception.
The difficulty of critiquing VCAA mathematics exams is capturing the variety and the frequency and the depth of the flaws, and then summing the overall effect, the fundamentally impoverished approach to mathematics and its testing. Documenting straight out errors is not overly difficult, and even non sequitur questions are manageable: the error or weirdness typically speaks for itself. Capturing the ubiquitous awfulness of the writing, and the intrinsic meaninglessness of many of the questions, however, is harder. Continue reading “VCAA’s Greater Literary Offenses”→
When we first met Sandra Milligan, “Enterprise Professor” at the University of Melbourne’s Graduate School of Education, she was ringleading a bunch of school principals in a campaign against the ATAR. The Age‘s Adam Carey gave Milligan and her cronies a free kick article, because of course it’s not the job of an education reporter to question whether their primary source might be a know-nothing ideologue. Now, Milligan is back in the news, partnered with something called Realms of Thinking, with the free kick “exclusive” provided this time by The Educator‘s Brett Henebery. Continue reading “In the Realm of the Senseless”→
And one more step into Exam 2. To be honest, we couldn’t give a stuff about this garbage topic, other than to note that introducing it into VCE is complete madness. But, clearly some people feel there are specifics to hammer. So, hammer away. (Hammerers may wish to refer to this or this or this or this (Word, idiots), all courtesy of VCAA.)
Following on from the group effort PoSWW, this is a group effort WitCH. It is worth keeping the PoSWW in mind, since the zero vector is again a primary source of confusion and error.
The focus is again Year 12 Specialist texts, this time on their coverage of linear dependence and independence. We have already WitCHed this in reference to the previous edition of Cambridge (which remains essentially unchanged on this topic). Readers may feel free to cheat by referring to that WitCH. Although Cambridge’s treatment was and is atrocious, however, the main targets are Nelson and Jacaranda.
This PoSWW is a group effort, on one of the sub-topics in VCAA’s current curriculum:
parallel and perpendicular vectors
There is minimal guidance in the Study Design on what the sub-topic is intended to cover and, in particular, no definitions of “parallel vector” and “perpendicular vector” are provided. Our specific concern is the role of the zero vector.*
Below are definitions and implied definitions from three current Year 12 VCE Specialist Mathematics textbooks. We have attempted to be as fair as possible, for each text selecting the clearest definitions/descriptions we could locate.
*) One might be inclined to argue that this is a minor concern. For those thus inclined, we’ll address the argument soon with a new WitCH.
This is the fourth of our three WitCHes on VCAA’s Specialist Mathematics Exam 1 Sample Questions. Yeah, yeah it’s Douglas Adams-ish, but it wasn’t deliberate. We were undecided on this last one, and it’s not as compelling as the others. But, for similar reasons for the other WitCHes, we changed our mind and decided to post it. (There were other close calls, and we’ll soon update this post with brief comments on all the questions.)