Given the premise of any form of testing is the evaluation of one's knowledge in comparison to the population (i.e. class) as a whole and a set body of knowledge (i.e. syllabus).
How does one approach the issue of answering conceptual questions that are completely groundless in a multiple choice format? I know that as an essay format, one can take positions and point out the flaws in the prompt. But in a format where there is (in theory) always a correct answer, what options does one have?
The following are poor examples, but it summarizes the question succinctly.
Vaccines cause autism. Studies have shown that Vaccine causes autism. When 100 people were surveyed by University X, 98% agreed that V = A.
Question: What causes Autism?
The world is flat. If one were to travel too far in any direction, they will fall off the earth.
Question: What will happen if you travel too far East?
A: You will end up on the other side
B: You will fall off
C: Nothing will Happen
Does one exclude the knowledge that they have gained from learning in the greater world and operate within the "confines" of the question, or do they reject the confines and operate on what is and proven at the present?
I asked a friend of mine this question, he/she responded that I had to approach the problem as a logic problem within 'closed system', meaning not to infer any additional knowledge outside the realm of the question.
If one were to approach the problem with the intent of seeking to maximize one's grade, i.e. the choice that will generate a point, then the answer is evident from the examples provided.
If one were to approach the problem with the intent of seeking to answer with the correct answer, i.e. the choice that most accurately reflects a person's belief (or that of society as a whole), then the answer is evident from the examples provided.
But what if the question is political or advocates a hateful rhetoric that is only believed by the question-maker (and therefore the grade-maker)?
If a personal belief is in opposition to the greater whole (i.e. An abolitionist in the South before the US Civil War, learning about social structure) what is the 'correct' answer?
Does the 'closed-system' extend to the class as a whole, irrespective of the outside world, and one's personal beliefs seconded to the beliefs of the grade-maker?
What is the overriding prerogative? Maximizing one's beliefs or grade?