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confused smiley Exam 2008 - issues

Posted by dianne 
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confused smiley Exam 2008 - issues
October 29, 2008 02:01PM
I apologise in advance if this sounds a bit bossy - I'm just ... yes well.

I promised the students at the Randburg Exam Centre I would set up a new topic. We need to find a way to lay a formal complaint about the content and maybe even the style of the exam, or they probably won't do anything. They will just assume we are a particularly dumb year.

The examination officials have recommended that we first contact the second examiner who is Mrs R CNienaber. And that we should probably get hold of Prof AJ Van der Merwe. The exam I believe was set my Prof Lubbe.

Here are some of the background issues:

There is a new lecturer on the subject. He did not set the assignments, only the exam. He has fundamental problems with the text book and intends changing it next year. He might not have known what was in the syllabus, although I believe he wrote that Exam tutorial letter.

As an outline, I have four categories of issues I'd like to throw into the ring:

1) content - I would say that about 40% of the paper wasn't in the syllabus. does anyone know where that final 20 mark question even came from - I was wondering if it was in the UML chapter?

2) Style - to even have a question that suggests "brainstorming" implies that this is an assignment question. To have included multiple systems when there is a serious time limit in order to create confusions is I think unfair.

3) Ambiguity - many questions had many interpretations. What is "this application" for example in the last set of questions. Many of the word answers could have more than one meaning.

4) The assignments and information provided about the examination beforehand.

Everyone is very welcome to add future sub-sections. I hoping we will have enough to compile a formal petition - if there is enough of us it will require a proper investigation into the entire year. We also need to outline some ideas about what we expect them to do.

I have a Delphi Exam tomorrow and I need to put this away for 24 hours and focus on the next crisis...
confused smiley Re: Exam 2008 - issues
October 29, 2008 03:17PM
"Did anyone have a clue what to do with the last 2 questions. I looked in the textbook and the ERD was discussed in Chapter 8 as well as the CRUD Matrix ( although a small mention was made at the end of Chapter 9 about the CRUD and an example of an ERD where given on page 163 in chapter 5) But the essence of how to construct & design both was within chapter 8 which was clearly not required studying. Am I missing someting? I would like a response from all stakeholders (2008-10-29 12:20)" My message on the myunisa forum.

I Also sent an email to prof lubbe this was his reply: " Hi Ons het dit ingebring omdat ons gevind het dat die studente nie die Entiteite identifiseer nie voordat hulle werk. Entiteite is nodig voordat jy diagramme teken. Dit was ook so in the eks brief. MAW ons het dit stap vir stap gevra die keer om die studente te help en te sien of die beter kan doen." I concur that we should examine entities, but as chapter 9 states - external entities are not to be confused with data entities - that is the content of chapter 8

I then asked a friend who already has his Unisa bcom degree to check when we are doing data entities - It is only in the third year of study.
confused smiley Re: Exam 2008 - issues
October 29, 2008 03:25PM
A new lecturer is hardly an excuse for such a poor exam paper. The last section had me scratching my head for about 15 minutes trying to decide whether "this application" included the webstore system or not.

I think it's only fair that if they don't disregard at least the last 2 questions (making the paper out of 70), that they should allow us to rewrite a different exam paper that is based on the work we actually studied during the year.
confused smiley Re: Exam 2008 - issues
October 29, 2008 03:41PM
Dianne,

yes I fully agree with you on all the points you mentioned. The ERD section comes from chapter 8 which was not in the syllabus. I also can not find the 20 mark table. I still don't understand the comments in the exam tutorial about "..to make the question easier" I don't want stuff easier I just want to be tested on what I was supposed to know. UNISA is supposed to be a professional tertiary institute but judging by the comments from Darryl, LouiseD, brett etc. there is a huge gap in standards here.
I will support any steps taken to bring these issues to the attention of the lecturers.

I am not willing to rewrite and put the pressure back on myself to find time off work for their sloppiness. It was tough enough convincing my client and the company I work for to allow me study leave the first time around. I think the last two questions and the few short questions also on ERD should simply not be marked. The exam tut only mentions the word entities twice. If I had the faintest idea that they were referring to chapter 8 I would have raised the issue earlier.
confused smiley Re: Exam 2008 - issues
October 29, 2008 03:42PM
There are lots of posts in the My Unisa forums, so if more examples or help is needed, dont forget to look there.

Want to add my 2 cents also, that last question: Either I totally misunderstood everything, but the question and the "example" table didnt match correctly, and have you ever seen a table with 3 headings for one column.
I also feel that combining a English paper and a Afrikaans paper into one like that is very bad, why dont they just have 2 seperate papers, (one from back other from front). Just makes reading things so much better.

If they want us to draw tables, why not give us tables to work with. I went to class one and two to learn how to draw lines, I dont want to waste 15 minutes in an exam drawing lines with my ruler to create a stupid table.

All in all its a big load of rubbish, nothing like adding extra stress to the exam time of year.
confused smiley Re: Exam 2008 - issues
October 29, 2008 05:07PM
Is it only me or did the case study in the exam and that of the assignments (and examples we had) differed day and night! The case study in the exam was very unclear - I had noooo idea what was going on!

I had no trouble doing the Process Modeling for the questions in the assignments and in tut501, but the exam... thumbs down

I still don't know if they wanted us to do the Process Modeling on the Webstore system as well... According to the text, only the Context DFD was completed for Webstore was done.

And in the last question the last column was something like description, but in the question they called it something else... (can't remember what confused smiley)

And I agree with the ERD part not being in our sylabus.

"stap vir stap gevra die keer om die studente te help en te sien of die beter kan doen" - and what if we don't???
confused smiley Re: Exam 2008 - issues
October 29, 2008 05:23PM
I agree completely with all of the above posts. The last two questions definitely was not part of the syllabus, as well as some of the short questions which did not look familiar either. Also I think all of the process modeling questions were set very badly in terms of not knowing when to include the WebStore system and when to include the CustomerTracking system. Not only this exam paper but the whole way that this module was presented is the worst I have ever seen. It's pathetic.

I don't think that the lecturers themselves know what they want judging by the way the assignments were marked, comments by markers to look in the textbook at chapters not part of the syllabus to get correct answers for assignments, the systems diagram in the assignement solutions etc, etc, etc. I am utterly disappointed.

" Hi Ons het dit ingebring omdat ons gevind het dat die studente nie die Entiteite identifiseer nie voordat hulle werk. Entiteite is nodig voordat jy diagramme teken. Dit was ook so in the eks brief. MAW ons het dit stap vir stap gevra die keer om die studente te help en te sien of die beter kan doen." - It is absolutley fine with me to do this, but then make it part of the syllabus and inform the students that it will be part of what is expected.
confused smiley Re: Exam 2008 - issues
October 29, 2008 05:28PM
That last question was so poorly asked. Were we supposed to assume that they wanted an inventory? Was it really one big system with two subsystems that we were supposed to draw? I can't believe the process question was so huge. I may have completely ignored the rest of the textbook.


Some ideas about what I would like them to do:

1 - dont count the marks for the ERD and the 20 mark table for the reasons mentioned above.
2 - use a higher weighting from the assignments to compensate for those two questions in the exam.
confused smiley Re: Exam 2008 - issues
October 29, 2008 05:33PM
[EDIT by rezrovs]
confused smiley Re: Exam 2008 - issues
October 29, 2008 05:35PM
I fully agree with everybody here. I was so angry throughout the exam, I couldn't even concentrate enough.
We should definitely do something about this situation.
confused smiley Re: Exam 2008 - issues
October 29, 2008 05:44PM
Personally I expect them to not count the last two questions which is 30 marks, as well as not counting the other questions that was not part of the syllabus. Also the marks obtained by students after this should still be increased to a certain extent as the other questions was also asked very badly as well as the irrelevant questions being asked put extra stress on students causing sub-optimal concentration, thinking and answers.
confused smiley Re: Exam 2008 - issues
October 29, 2008 07:06PM
Fully agree, We have been mishandled. A formal complaint is in order. Some questions in q2 were unfamiliar and q3 was so badly asked I couldn't figure out what "system" we were talking about at different times and of course that twenty mark table was a disaster.
confused smiley Re: Exam 2008 - issues
October 29, 2008 07:35PM
Thanks pple. I was the only one writing that subject where i am so i had know to collaborate with. Yes the exam was a definite con. We need to make a formal complaint count my signature in.
confused smiley Re: Exam 2008 - issues
October 29, 2008 07:49PM
Hi everyone.
I do agree with the statements about the last two questions.
A English/afrikaans paper is totally confusing.

The example was also pathetic. It does not correspond with any of the examples that was send to us or with the ones in assignment two.

The fact that more people find it pathetic makes me feel a bit better, I thought that I was plain stupid after this paper.

The question is do we have something to stand on and how do wo go further ?
confused smiley Re: Exam 2008 - issues
October 29, 2008 08:45PM
I thought I was going stupid, but there were definately a few "missing word" questions that were not part of the syllabus.

I actually got rather demoralised right at the get go with the start of question 3. I am certain a well seasoned system analyst wouldnt dream of supplying a system designer such a shyte ambiguous specification for a system. I had many questions about that spec. In the real world you can go back to the users and query things.

I definately agree that the last 2 questions of the exam need to be removed. It IS NOT PART OF THE SYLLABUS.

:\
confused smiley Re: Exam 2008 - issues
October 30, 2008 01:40PM
We have a classlist on myunisa why not send an email to evrybody and ask them how they feel. Maybe then we can have official replies from 554 students that are listed, because I don't think that they know that they can complain.
confused smiley Re: Re: Exam 2008 - issues
October 30, 2008 01:48PM
The latest reply on my email sent to Prof Lubbe:

"Hallo Louis

Ons het gekyk hoe die studente gedoen het in die verlede en het besluit om te kyk of die resultaat nie kan verbeter nie as ons die studente help om dinge te identifiseer. Eerstens moet jy kan entiteite identifiseer en ek verwys na my aanhaling hieronder:

"DFDs show the flow of data from entities into the system, showed how the data moved from one process to another, as well as its logical storage."

Tweedens is die ander vraag slegs 'n neerskryf van hoe jy die diagram moet doen. Met ander woorde, jy skryf alles in skrif waar jy jou eie woorde kan skryf. Baie mense sukkel om die diagram te teken en ons probeer om hulle te help. Miskien doen die studente dan oor die algemeen beter. Al die dinge wat jy nou bevraag het in die 103 eks brief gestaan om die mense beter in te lig.

Groete

Prof Sam Lubbe"
confused smiley Re: Re: Re: Exam 2008 - issues
October 30, 2008 01:51PM
And another reply:

"Hallo

Dit is juis die ding. Ons aanvaar jy het sekere agtergronde en ek verwys na die aanhaling hieronder:

"DFDs show the flow of data from entities into the system, showed how the data moved from one process to another, as well as its logical storage."

Soos reeds gesê, dit was ook so vertel in die eks brief.

Vriendelike groete"

Well my reply to this is do I have to have a programming background to start B.Comm
Do I need to know all the diagrams that do exist in IT?
What does this mean? Can they ask anything that is not in the syllabus and we must just be prepared to stomach it?
Makes me wonder as a client of Unisa if they are taking me serious?
confused smiley Re: Exam 2008 - issues
October 30, 2008 04:21PM
It is obvious that they do not take any of us serious. I do not agree with any of the vague Afrikaans comments made by the professor on the issues you raised. The facts are simple: 30%+ of the paper comes from context outside the syllabus and the onus should not be on us to defend what pre knowledge we should have had. The examiners made a mistake with the syllabus during the year and tried to fix it with more confusing comments in the tutorial letter and failed. Now they must fix it. Was it so difficult to just use the acronym ERD in the exam tut?
confused smiley Re: Exam 2008 - issues
October 30, 2008 05:23PM
The info that was given in tut 103 was more confusing than anything else. The statements in tut 103 did not in any way make me think that I have to know ERD diagrams, to me the statements made in tut 103 means that they will give us the entities to draw the DFD from. How can the lecturers put something in the exam to make it "easier" if it is not even part of the syllabus and nobody knew that we needed to study this. Personally I think a formal complaint is in order seeing as Prof Lubbe just disregards all the mails sent to him by saying that they told us in tut 103, it is background knowledge that we should have had and they were trying to make it easier. This is completely ridiculous!!!
confused smiley Re: Exam 2008 - issues
October 30, 2008 05:58PM
I completely agree with everything that has been said in this thread.

The process modeling questions in the exam were a) completely confusing compared to the assignment and examples we were given b) where the heck did the last two questions come from?

The English/Afrikaans paper format was extremely confusing and the short questions were ridiculous. I couldn't understand what half of them wanted.

So frustrating!
confused smiley Re: Re: Exam 2008 - issues
October 30, 2008 06:00PM
I agree with the comment about the English and Afrikaans being in the same place. I wonder why they do that? And I worry about when there are more than two languages on the paper tongue sticking out smiley
confused smiley Re: Re: Exam 2008 - issues
October 30, 2008 06:04PM
Also the communication on tut letter 103 was completely confusing.

Firstly, it got the marking structure completely wrong compared to the way the marks were allocated in the exam.

Secondly we were given instructions in the letter such as don't use verbs on data flow lines. None of this was communicated on the actual paper and because the mark structure was incorrect, how were we able to judge what else was incorrect in the letter. I sat there not knowing what to include and not to include in my diagrams.
avatar confused smiley Re: Exam 2008 - issues
October 30, 2008 06:06PM
Hi all

Thanks for the e-mail Louis. I agree completely with ALL the posts above. I also wrote delphi today but yesterday put me so off! I was so upset after the paper because I truly felt the paper was unfair. That last 2 questions did not make sense and afterwards (while I was suppose to page through delphi) I paged through that whole text book in the search of answers and if I missed something. I didn't.
Nothing in that book could have prepared me for that exam paper!!!

There was some mention about entities in chapter 8 (which was not in our list to prepare for the exam).
I also felt the Afrikaans / English in 1 paper was a bit confusing. Why could the paper not be like other subjects where Afrikaans is one side and the other side English?

My question is that I will most likely fail as I don't think my scribbles and nonsense is remotely correct for that case study. Does this mean that UNISA just laughs this off and we all have to pay another +- R1000 next year?

The paper was not consistent in how they prepared us with the assignments and I think this is grossly unfair.

(ok now after that vent - sorry I'm writing 207 tomorrow) eeeeeeck!

WHAT is our next step?
WHAT chance do we have to get some action? (although I want action NOW!)
WHO can we contact?
WHO can help us?

you can also mail me on marisa_mocke@yahoo.co.uk if there is anything I can assist with? I will be checking the forum regularly now to see what we can find out.

I will gladly re-write this exam (and beg for study leave) IF I will be asked questions that was part of our syllabus.
Anonymous User
confused smiley Re: Exam 2008 - issues
October 30, 2008 06:34PM
The exam started well then took a horrible turn at Question 2 and parts of question 3 was do-able.
Question 2 was, in my opinion, terribly vague and for me who knows this work as Ive done software engineering which covers all the work done here could not make sense of the questions. It feels as if it was intentionally written to be confusing . The E.R.D's wasnt at all covered in assignments or in the tut letter with the exam brief....I may have repeated a few points raised but I really feel cheated for all the time and effort I've put in preparing for this exam.

And thanks for the mail louise , I hope this thread does not go unnoticed by people with sway as it seems the Prof doesn't realise the significance of what he has done. Peoples futures are at stake and a look at this paper in conjuction with what was given in the syllabus should be taken seriously by UNISA.

Graeme
confused smiley Re: Exam 2008 - issues
October 30, 2008 06:36PM
I agree 100% with everything that has been said here.

The fill in the missing words were vague, making it hard to understand what exactly was required. (Harder than it should be to fill in a missing word.)

The example given for the last question was confusing enough, never mind what they actually wanted. The table I drew was how I thought it should have been, does this mean that it will be marked as incorrect because it is not identical to the answer guideline?

The format of the assignments and examples given differed completely from the exam, what was the point of even having those assignments if the exam disregarded them?
confused smiley Re: Re: Exam 2008 - issues
October 30, 2008 06:49PM
I'm so dissapointed with all the replies we getting from Prof Lubbe. He is not being fair at all. I think we have to take further steps and get this matter sorted before getting the results. We have worked so hard to prepare for this exam and I don't think there's anyone who's got time to sit and prepare for re-write(i personally don't have that time).

I thought I was stupid at once with last questions, but now i feel so much better as I'm not alone
confused smiley Re: Exam 2008 - issues
October 30, 2008 06:51PM
There's also a discussion about the paper on the myunisa forum. (36 posts so far)
confused smiley Re: Re: Exam 2008 - issues
October 30, 2008 07:03PM
Except for the last 2 questions not being in our syllabus, did anyone else find the case study to be very confusing and not on the same level as our assignments and examples?
I had no idea what to do, but I didn't struggle with our assignments.
I had no idea if I had to draw the diagrams for both systems (are they even seperate systems???)
Why can't they break the process modeling up into several questions - each based on a different case study?
confused smiley Re: Exam 2008 - issues
October 30, 2008 07:08PM
I agree with everyone on this forum, nothing about the role of system owners, users, designers or builders, the CMM, the stakeholders, business and technology drivers, automated tools, just to name a few, were asked. That case study was so unfair, questions so vague, and where did the last two questions fall out from? at some stages in the exam I actually thought if I maybe "forgot" to study a chapter, but after browsing through the book I covered everything that we were supposed to study.
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