Your Opinion of Test Question Value
In as university CS class, 40% of the grade is performance on test questions which ask the student to write programs longhand without documentation. If you call an event handler 'DragOver' instead of 'MouseDrag', you lose points. If you forget that it's '.size' instead of '.count' in the Java collection interface, more points taken off.
The point of a test is not that you remember language specific names for events or names that were presented to you in the class; it is instead that you be able to effectively know what an event is and how to use it. Thus you should be given the task of first defining what an event is in the generic sense of the word and then writing an event handler for a given language. Learning or memorizing the names and elements of specific structures or classes based on platforms is useful however and occurs over time, but it is probably not the best use of test questions.
What's the course? That test might well be appropriate if the course is "Java syntax".
>> "What's the course? That test might well be appropriate if the course is 'Java syntax'."
>> "I would be absolutely lost without documentation and intelli-sense."
Also, remembering the syntax of a language is generally expected of programmers(SQL, C, BASIC), but remembering the names of language specific elements like events and platform dependant library elements is not expected (or should not be IMO) unless of course you are given time to review the specific library etc.. that you'll be dealing with.
I don't think it is effective because it primarily tests memory.
son of parnas
This test is only as good as the concreteness of the language. In other words, if there were no other way to do it, then yes, it's ok to test those parameters. However, if I put .size and .length is the right answer, but .size also does it, I shouldn't be wrong.
Effective? Not especially. When I was a TA in a well-respected university's CS dept., we definitely focused on whether students got the semantics of the problem right, not so much on syntactical details -- though I wouldn't be surprised if repeatedly blowing basic stuff or having internal inconsistencies would lose you a small number of points. (This was back in the days when the introductory language of choice was Pascal, or Scheme for the more ambitious students; the world of syntactical details you might have to know was a lot smaller than today.)
Unless you know the function inside and out, you should be referring to the documentation to check for any gotchas. So in this way the test doesn't give an accurate depiction of the real world (or it gives a depiction of a real world with a lot of bugs in the software).
It's a pretty poor question. However it does prepare you for the stupid type of things you'll encounter later on in your career as a programmer.
Jorel on Software
And the arbitrary tyranny of PHB's. Must be the "what you don't learn in college class" class .
Nevermind, you have chosen a very poor school. It's too bad people can't get heir money back on overpriced useless educational scams like the one you are being subjected to.
You might be happy to know that an "authority" lends weight to the fact these memorization tests are completely, astoundingly foolish.
Tayssir John Gabbour
> Also, remembering the syntax of a language is generally expected of programmers
Incidentally, if you didn't want an odd rant like I gave... I have programmed in notepad to get away from IDEs. Bad IDEs can be stifling, and even little flaws can show up greatly. It was to get a rest from Borland JBuilder, which was then just awful. Being alone with code isn't bad. You can feel the characters between your toes, and it gave appreciation for a good IDE. (One big sin is insulating people from how code is stored on disk. Rarely done well.)
Tayssir John Gabbour
That's a stupid lecturer and or school, anon. Give us a hint. Where is it?
>> "That's a stupid lecturer and or school, anon. Give us a hint. Where is it?"
Is the school in the U.S.? If not, in which country? If so, in which state?
The name of the school is unimportant. I'd be amazed if someone here attended a university and never had at least one prof impose some stupid requirement or graded with some twisted subjective reasoning. If you made it through 4 years with only one class like this, consider yourself blessed.
yet another anon
In my seven years as an undergraduate, I never had an examination that stupid.
7 years as an undergrad? Part time?
Spoil my punch line, will you? Yes, I transferred once and changed majors at the new school and ended up working and finishing my degree part-time, mostly due to family problems beyond my control.
Hmmm... I got my Math BS first and then became a developer. I started my BSCS shorly thereafter, taking maybe one course per semester - maybe not. So it's taken me ten years to get the stupid thing!
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