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Chen

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Reasons for keeping Comps

 
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For comps

1. a higher expectation: passing all exams at the same time would test a student at a much higher level than the requirements in individual courses
2. bootcamp experience: 1st year students working together forming lasting friendship
3. collective faculty attention to students: faculty working together creating and grading exams and discussing results
4. survival training: to succeed in grad school and later career, one must learn to perform under pressure
5. competitive advantage: comps can work in small departments but not large ones


Against comps

1. time sink: for the first year
2. no research:
3. material not most relevant: esp. for students in some areas
4. process not working: a student stays in the programs regardless of the test results
5. resentment by some students

James

Joel

Pro:

1. Our only uniform measure and comparison

2. Encourage attention and hard work in associated courses

3. Encourage really learning some fundamentals, so that they might have a serious chance of ``cross pollination''

4. Stark discovery of outliers on the low end

5. Test our impressions of specialization prospects

Con:

1. Exceedingly busy time of year, thus discouraging well thought-out Comps questions, course final exams, and serious faculty attention to thesis proposals and six-month reviews

2. All-year pressure on students

3. Distraction from research, by both students and faculty

4. Some depressing performances (actually a pro, if we take constructive action!)

5. Ill will with the students (and applicants!)

Daphane

Nick

Satiyaki

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  • Our only uniform measure and comparison.
  • The exams show outliers on both ends of the performance curve and test our impressions of specialization prospects.
  • A higher expectation: passing all exams at the same time would test a student at a much higher level than the requirements in individual courses.
  • Survival training: to succeed in grad school and later career, one must learn to perform under pressure.
  • Students learn in all three areas before choosing a research direction/advisor. The exams encourage attention and hard work in associated courses. Make students more knowledgeable in all three areas. Encourage really learning some fundamentals, so that they might have a serious chance of ``cross pollination'' Promote cross fertilization of ideas from different areas.
  • Bootcamp experience: 1st year students studying together forming lasting friendship.
  • Collective faculty attention to students: faculty working together creating and grading exams and discussing results.
  • Competitive advantage of being a small department: all faculty grade all exams, not relegated to a committee or a subset of areas. Let faculty not teaching in the first year assess students.
 
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