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The truth, TWT, ANBTT. So, help me JoS-ers!

Q.) "Have you passed every examination you have taken on <subject>CurrentRecord.FieldName.Value</subject> with more than 85% as your score?"

A.) "Yes"

I have taken 0 examinations on that subject. Am I speaking the truth?

KayJay
Friday, August 13, 2004

Hmm. But the answer could also be

A) No.

Aussie Chick
Friday, August 13, 2004

I've had this quote in my signature for a while:

Bertrand Russell, in a lecture on logic, mentioned that in the sense of material implication, a false proposition implies any proposition. A student raised his hand and said "In that case, given that 1 = 0, prove that you are the Pope". Russell immediately replied, "Add 1 to both sides of the equation: then we have 2 = 1. The set containing just me and the Pope has 2 members. But 2 = 1, so it has only 1 member; therefore, I am the Pope."

Also:

http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/Bertrand%20Russell

Ward
Friday, August 13, 2004

Yes, the statement is vacuously true.

Mathie
Friday, August 13, 2004

In fact, that quote was the starting point (sort of) for the OP. I am currently developing a (another!) questionaire for our series of pshycometric tests. And I am (re)reading Rusell's autobiography. I want to reduce the number of questions that are required to ensure a given situation in a given contect to be totally unambiguous. The current questionnaire is focussed on education, hence the OP.

I wanted to avoid the likes of  "Have you taken at least one examination in $subject" and associated precursor questions to arrive at a clear underatanding of the participants performance in that particular subject.

KayJay
Friday, August 13, 2004

Muppet Was Here!

muppet
Friday, August 13, 2004

Well if I read your original question in any sort of questionairre, and I had never taken a such a test. My response would be:

"No, I have never taken such a test."

i.e I would clarify my answer. But then I did one of those color in the circle psych tests, and I scribbled clarifications beside some of those answers too

Aussie Chick
Friday, August 13, 2004

Um. I would tend towards "yes". But I'm not sure everyone would. I'm influenced by mathematics, where "for all" definitelty means that, but even there you get bogged down in that special case. I bet lots of people who aren't will quite reasonably say "No, uh..."

Are you actually intending to *ask* anyone this? If so, I suggest you accept that people's answers will be essentially random if they have taken none. Or rephrase it a bit.

What do you *want* to happen? Do you want 'no'? And yet if someone took 27 of those things, and got 84% on their first, to also say 'no'? If so, I'd just add a sentence in brackets. "(If you haven't taken any, please say no.)"

Jack V.
Friday, August 13, 2004

<quote author="Cassandra">
Well if I read your original question in any sort of questionairre, and I had never taken a such a test. My response would be:

"No, I have never taken such a test."

i.e I would clarify my answer. But then I did one of those color in the circle psych tests, and I scribbled clarifications beside some of those answers too
</quote>

That is the sort of "extra" information, I want to avoid. It is far easier to perform numerical analysis with binary results. Plus, all our questionaires have no "opt-out" options, "such as none of the above", "please specify if you chose 'others'", etc., for reasons only my mother knows. She's the domain expert.


<quote author="Jack V.">
What do you *want* to happen? Do you want 'no'? And yet if someone took 27 of those things, and got 84% on their first, to also say 'no'? If so, I'd just add a sentence in brackets. "(If you haven't taken any, please say no.)"
</quote>

Since each question is boolean or numerical ('give a score from 1 - 10'), I will have to add additional _preparatory_ questions.

KayJay
Friday, August 13, 2004

You would not be lying, but you be deceiving.

Mr Jack
Friday, August 13, 2004

I believe the correct answer in these circumstances is "mu".

Tom (a programmer)
Friday, August 13, 2004

Kayjay, the question is relatively ambiguous when one has not taken any such exams.  Either an alternative answer must be allowed or you must clarify the question. 

Jack's suggestion of indicated the preferred answer for "No test taken" is likely the clearest way to go.

Lou
Friday, August 13, 2004

Since i'm the type when asked whether I want chicken or steak who'll answer "yes", I'd say Yes is a valid true answer.

You could restate the question as "Have you ever taken 1 or more tests on subject X and passed with a score of 85%?"

Miles Archer
Friday, August 13, 2004

Yes. That is how I am rewording the questions. There are 48 similar one.

Thanks all.

KayJay
Friday, August 13, 2004

"Have you ever taken 1 or more tests on subject X and passed with a score of 85%?"


(I took over 300 (hey, this was a free online thing), just marked random answers, and by chance hit 85% one time)

YES

(maybe you should make that "passed with a score of 85% every time")

Just me (Sir to you)
Friday, August 13, 2004

Sir, you are a nit picker. ;-)

Yes, of course. You would want to say at least 85% for all, or average 85% or whatever. I ignored that part of it to focus on the 1 or more but.

Miles Archer
Friday, August 13, 2004

The problem with the question (in any of the variations shown) is that it doesn't have a "boolean" answer - there are really 3 answers (Yes, No, and "Not Applicable").

You could ask the original question:
"Have you passed every examination you have taken on <subject>CurrentRecord.FieldName.Value</subject> with more than 85% as your score?"
if you include instructions similar to: "If you have never taken any examinations in this subject, please do not respond to this question". [This assumes that your application can handle "null" responses to these questions.]

The problem with a question similar to:
Have you ever taken 1 or more tests on subject X and passed with a score of 85% every time?" is that you have no way of knowing whether a response of "No" means:
(a) I have never taken any of these tests, or
(b) I took the test and only got a score of 12%
- thus potentially unfairly penalizing those people who have never taken the test (but may have the knowledge to pass the test if they did take it).

I think you only have 2 options in your application for dealing with questions like these:
- allow 3 possible answers to the question: Yes, No, and N/A
- or, split it into 2 questions (have you taken any tests in the subject?; if so, was your score more than 85% each time?)

Philip Dickerson
Friday, August 13, 2004

Philip, precisely. As mentioned earlier, I have chosen to have more than one question.

KayJay
Friday, August 13, 2004

I can answer "YES" even if I have passed at least one examination and at least once my score was below 85%.

Abfüller: Henniez SA
Tuesday, August 17, 2004

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