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How Quantum Physics Can Get You Out of Your Math Test

The observer effect can be used to argue against modern testing systems

Peter Quinn, Opinion Editor

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At first thought, the idea of using one of the most complex fields of science to get you out of your much simpler tests probably sounds preposterous, but quantum physics has granted us with a beautiful concept known as the “observer effect.” Before you click off this article in fear of a long explanation of highly complex concepts, fear not. The observer effect is extremely simple.

The observer effect, put simply, is the idea that testing anything skews the results. An example of this would be timing a runner’s 100 meter dash. A

runner is going to perform either better or worse while they are under the impression that they are being timed. Implementing the timing will add an additional factor along with the running itself, for they will perform differently solely due to the fact that they are being tested. There are infinite examples of this.

At this point you may be catching on that I am going to argue that testing someone over material in a classroom skews the results. From personal experience, and most likely many others’ experiences, I can say that when I sit down to take a test I perform far differently than when I did the material in class. Testing someone adds a number of factors that were not there prior.

I will use math class as an example of this. When you do your assignments, you are able to take your time to check your work, ask questions, figure out the material to your understanding, etc. Also, at least in higher math classes, these assignments are not graded, so it gives you the opportunity to use the skills you learned with no pressure, like you would be able to in the real world. When being tested, the setting changes drastically. Instead of being able to perform on your own without stress and ask questions, you are suddenly restricted greatly. The tests also add an effect of pressure that was not there prior due to the fact that it is graded and you are usually under a time constraint.

These tests add many factors that will, without a doubt, skew the results of your performance compared to how you performed on the past assignments.

Now I’m not saying to roll into your next class expecting quantum physics to get you out of your pop quiz, but rather consider the concept of the observer effect to see how flawed the current testing system can be.

1 Comment

One Response to “How Quantum Physics Can Get You Out of Your Math Test”

  1. Ross Kathol on January 10th, 2017 7:27 pm

    We get it you have bad grades

    [Reply]

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




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How Quantum Physics Can Get You Out of Your Math Test