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Feedback on Resources: Exercise Solutions -- why we only share these with teachers

David
Feb 11, 2017
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We've had some recent requests for access to the exercise solutions manual from students (e.g. to check work or lead study groups) as well as parents looking to help their kids. I understand our policy of not providing solutions to students and parents is unpopular, so I wanted to explain why it's a policy we can't reasonably change.

First, some things to be aware of:

1) In many classes, homework contributes to the grade.

2) Homework is frequently chosen from questions in the course textbook.

3) If solutions are shared with a handful students, the solutions will likely show up online or shared privately among students.

4) If one student gets access to solutions, we need to give access to all students. (We must treat all students equally and avoid even any perception of favoritism to some students over others.)

Now with those considerations in mind...

5) Because of #1 and #2, many teachers will become frustrated with our books if they cannot use some of the exercises for graded homework. This will lead some of those teachers to adopt another book (understandably!), likely at a cost to each student of around $100 to $200. This is the primary reason we do not release solutions: it undermines the utility of our books.

6) If solutions are readily available, the usefulness of student collaborations and study groups diminishes, possibly leading more students to "go it alone". However, these collaborations are important since they help students further their understanding by working out problems together.

7) If a student can rely on a solution manual, the student may always get the correct answer on homework by following the provided answer while sometimes not understanding the solution. This can lead to a false sense of confidence.

8) We cannot reasonably bend our rule for parents. Some students will pretend to be a parent, and we cannot reasonably distinguish between students and parents online.

I hope this clarifies why we don't share the solutions manual with students or teachers. In the end, if it wasn't in place, it would lead to many teachers choosing a different, more expensive textbook, and that would be much worse for students and parents.

Best,

David

First, some things to be aware of:

1) In many classes, homework contributes to the grade.

2) Homework is frequently chosen from questions in the course textbook.

3) If solutions are shared with a handful students, the solutions will likely show up online or shared privately among students.

4) If one student gets access to solutions, we need to give access to all students. (We must treat all students equally and avoid even any perception of favoritism to some students over others.)

Now with those considerations in mind...

5) Because of #1 and #2, many teachers will become frustrated with our books if they cannot use some of the exercises for graded homework. This will lead some of those teachers to adopt another book (understandably!), likely at a cost to each student of around $100 to $200. This is the primary reason we do not release solutions: it undermines the utility of our books.

6) If solutions are readily available, the usefulness of student collaborations and study groups diminishes, possibly leading more students to "go it alone". However, these collaborations are important since they help students further their understanding by working out problems together.

7) If a student can rely on a solution manual, the student may always get the correct answer on homework by following the provided answer while sometimes not understanding the solution. This can lead to a false sense of confidence.

8) We cannot reasonably bend our rule for parents. Some students will pretend to be a parent, and we cannot reasonably distinguish between students and parents online.

I hope this clarifies why we don't share the solutions manual with students or teachers. In the end, if it wasn't in place, it would lead to many teachers choosing a different, more expensive textbook, and that would be much worse for students and parents.

Best,

David

David
Feb 11, 2017
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Also, a quick follow-up on options for students (and parents):

1. Most exercises come in pairs. When stuck on an even-numbered exercise, check out the odd-numbered questions before and after it. Usually one of these questions will be similar to the even-numbered exercise, and the solution to the odd-numbered exercise in the back of the book can serve as a way to check understanding on the odd-numbered exercise and concepts required for the even-numbered exercise.

2. If you're still stuck, post a question to these Public Forums! Someone will follow-up, often within 24 hours.

We're also always looking for ways to better support students, parents, and teachers. Please post below if you have ideas for additional resources that you would find helpful during self-study or helping others.

1. Most exercises come in pairs. When stuck on an even-numbered exercise, check out the odd-numbered questions before and after it. Usually one of these questions will be similar to the even-numbered exercise, and the solution to the odd-numbered exercise in the back of the book can serve as a way to check understanding on the odd-numbered exercise and concepts required for the even-numbered exercise.

2. If you're still stuck, post a question to these Public Forums! Someone will follow-up, often within 24 hours.

We're also always looking for ways to better support students, parents, and teachers. Please post below if you have ideas for additional resources that you would find helpful during self-study or helping others.

David
Sep 24, 2017
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