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lent day 2: meta test

for a while now i've had this idea that if i ever gave a multiple choice test that i would make it comprised of, say, 100 questions of slowly increasing dificulty, and all of the answers except for one would be the same choice (say, A), and i would tell the class ahead of time that that one question was worth half of the grade.

I think the psychological effect would be fascinating.  Because the class would know that each question would take longer and longer to figure out, and to know that 99 out of the 100 would have the same answer would play with the Expected Value equation.  How much time is it worth it if it's so likely to be A, except that the weight of that single answer mucks it all up. Who would crack under that sort of meta?

Today i thought of a slightly more complex and stronger variation to that.  Suppose instead the answers come in a pattern that's constantly breaking at a point when that pattern seems to assert itself.  So the first four answers are A B C D and then the next four answers are also A B C D.  Then the next three questions are A B C before it resets back to A, skipping D the third time around.  Then it goes A B C D A B C D A B C again.  And then it goes A B C D A B C D A B.  And then it goes A B C D A B C A B or something like that.

So the test taker is playing two games - one of actually answering the test questions, and one of trying to find the answer pattern, possibly having to double-check their work when the pattern doesn't seem to work the right way.  And even if they get to a point where they want to abandon the idea of looking for a pattern, their subconscious can't ignore that entirely and it messes with them for the entire rest of the test.

And actually, that's really what music creation is all about for me.   Which probably means that everyone is glad that i write music more often than i write tests.

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( read spoken (2) — speak )
Feb. 13th, 2016 08:55 pm (UTC)
Feb. 15th, 2016 12:26 am (UTC)
omg. That is so interesting and devious!
( read spoken (2) — speak )


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March 2017