Exploring Options

2. Some instructors give exams that tell the student how many points each question is worth. For example, on a test of five questions, three may be worth 20 points, one worth 10, and the last worth 30. When the author was a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin, one of the professors empowered students by letting them choose how important each questions was. For example, on a five-question exam, a student might be able to assign any weight from 5 to 50 to a question, with the condition that the total for all five add up to 100. If a student was confident he had a really good answer for one question, he could assign it 50 and put less weight on answers he was less sure about.

Since students had more options, they should have been better off and therefore happy about this way of weighting test questions. In fact, many students did not like the system. Speculate on why more choices did not make them happier.

3. Can you have too many choices? Would you be better off with 500 channels on your television rather than 100? How about 5000 rather than 500? Can you have too many channels to choose from?

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