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Does not compute

Here's a question from the editing final I gave this week:

The center for the basketball team is 210 centimeters tall. How tall is he in feet and inches?

In The Associated Press Stylebook, which students are allowed to use during the final, help is found under the "centimeter" entry: "To convert to inches, multiply by 0.4."

Even with my case of innumeracy, I'm able to do the math in my head: The center is 84 inches -- 7 feet -- tall. Among the correct answers, one student answered "84.0 inches," and then added -- and I'm not making this up -- "You can't convert centimeters to feet."

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
mediastarr
Dec. 15th, 2007 02:53 am (UTC)
I thought I had a response but honestly, I can't find the words.
milis
Dec. 15th, 2007 08:40 pm (UTC)
Wait until these kids take Natty World Lab. One of the questions on that final was: Using the listed conversions, 20mg/Liters = _______ lbs/gallons

Oh and none of the conversions listed helped simplify the process.
patrick_vecchio
Dec. 15th, 2007 09:00 pm (UTC)
When I teach percentages, I have to go slowly, because many students have looks on their faces that seem to say they've never seen this stuff.
tanadariel
Dec. 16th, 2007 03:39 am (UTC)
You have to give the student credit; he/she was trying to think outside the box, presuming you were asking a trick question.

Nah, I'm just kidding. That's truly sad.
patrick_vecchio
Dec. 16th, 2007 03:58 am (UTC)
I don't know what's sadder: This student's thoughts about conversion or the fact that several students never made it to 84 inches.
nodressrehersal
Dec. 18th, 2007 04:02 am (UTC)
Yikes!
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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