Tests

The class package consists of 4 units.  Each unit has a separate test.  Tests will carry 50% of the grading weight.

Tests will be 1 to 2 hour in class exams. The test will usually consist of a single design problem involving math and calculation, though sorter questions that simply test understanding of principles and mathematical relationships are possible. The questions will often resemble exercises on the web page, and a student who has worked some of the exercises will be at an advantage to a student who has not in most cases. It would be a serious mistake to come to a test expecting to look up a matching example from the web page and trying to follow it through to an A grade. This is a design oriented class and tests probe ability to apply concepts and calculation techniques, not ability to find and mimic similar problems in a monkey see - monkey do fashion. All exams are open book and open notes. Calculators or even computers may be used, but cannot be passed around or shared.  Examples of previous tests are found below.

Errors on tests are considered to fall into several basic categories. The first category is the calculator klutz error. It is performed by inability to enter numbers into a calculator, or copy numbers correctly through several problem steps. Calculator klutz errors are penalized by .5 to 2%.

The second kind of error is the bad assumption error. Design problems usually lack complete information and often require assumptions on such things as how a mining operation will be done. It is possible to make poor assumptions and yet proceed to work a problem in a sound engineering fashion. Assumption errors can also be committed by committing a calculator klutz error that produces an obviously unreasonable result, and yet the assumer ignores the problem and proceeds mechanically through the steps to a solution. Assumption errors are penalized 5 to 7%.

The third type of error is the I am lost error. It is committed by people who have no idea how to work the problem or apply a formula etc. These errors are penalized up to 25%.

A fourth type of error is the I am too sloppy to write down what Iím doing error. Because many people make minor errors, or because design problems seldom have unique right answers, poorly documented work often gives an impression of an I am lost error. Since the instructor can grade your paper, not your brain, and since there is usually not enough time to rework the problem over and over several different ways to find out what you did do, there is a significant risk that a Iím sloppy error will be treated as an Iím lost error. If someone scribbles a few incoherent calculations and then writes down a wrong answer there is little choice but to assume the wrong answer results from inability to do the problem. The instructors best judgment is final on the matter. Work neat, and document your steps.

 

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