An expert program

19th December 1997 at 00:00
INTERACTIVE PAST PAPERS - MATHEMATICS CD-Rom for Windows 3 or above, Pounds 39.99Lander Software: 800 403040

Lander has produced some excellent software for younger students, and has now turned its attention to the other end of the school spectrum. This CD-Rom is designed to give A-level and Scottish Higher students practice in answering exam questions, and it does this very well. The package is well designed, easy to use and can be configured to the needs of individual students, with all the topics in core advanced mathematics covered.

The program can be set to produce an exam paper in which the questions are chosen at random or in which specific topics are covered. You can also choose questions on aspects of a topic. The level of feedback can be set to vary from one in which marks are given and where answers can be revealed to a mode which simulates an exam (no marks and no answers revealed). There are up to eight questions in a test, and they can be answered in any order. A student can make a progress check at any time, and save the test for future reference. When the student begins answering a question by clicking on its number, a window called "Input Tool" pops up. This is where the answer is entered, and the tool monitors the mathematical syntax to ensure that brackets, exponentials, and so on, are correctly entered.

Teachers can amend the advice given to students when they leave the test or look at their progress. The level of failure at which advice is given can be set (eg, if a student scores less than 40 per cent on a question, advice is offered), and teachers can input the advice (eg "You need to practise turning points. See page 62 of text book").

The Computer Aided Learning in Mathematics team at Heriot-Watt University, who developed this program, have clearly used their expertise to good effect.

Ian Wilson

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