Research Papers in Physics and Astronomy


Date of this Version

August 1975


Published by American Journal of Physics. American Journal of Physics 43, 746 (1975). ©1975 American Journal of Physics. Permission to use.


It is not clear that the comment "Grading and Regrading"' has very much to do with our article.' The comment seems rather to be a nostalgic statement recalling the good old days when with glee we cracked the whip and the students either shaped up or shipped out.

Our purpose in doing repeatable testing was not to become a "do your own thing" force, to raise everyone's grades, to "achieve well defined educational objectives" like teaching the solution to the inclined plane problem, to do away with certification, and most definitely our purpose was not to replace teachers with computer-programmed instruction.

Our purpose was in fact really rather simple. It was to try to teach more physics. Dr. Edmond's comment has not addressed the premise of our paper, which is that people learn from their mistakes (even in the real world). We have used nothing but the old guard establishment tool of testing as a measure of content mastery. Once the test is established as the measure of content mastery, how large a jump is it to the statement that if you do better on the next exam you will have mastered more content? If we can improve the teaching of physics and make the students feel good about learning at the same time, we should be willing to give up a few of our old sadistic pleasures.

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