20120909

Physics quiz question: least, greatest number of significant figures

Physics 205A Quiz 1, fall semester 2012
Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, CA

Cf. Giambattista/Richardson/Richardson, Physics, 2/e, Comprehensive Problem 1.63

[Version 1]
The measurement with the least number of significant figures is:
(A) 0.00610 mm.
(B) 51 mi.
(C) 104.0 cm.
(D) 0.177 m.
(E) (More than one of the above choices.)

Correct answer (highlight to unhide): (B)

Significant digits are denoted by the digits in green below (and digits in yellow are not significant). Response (A) has three significant figures, ignoring the non-significant leading zeroes, but including the trailing zero to the right. Response (B) has two significant figures. Response (C) has four significant figures, which includes the trailing zero. Response (D) has three significant figures, as the leading zero to the left of the decimal point is not significant.
(A) 0.00610 mm.
(B) 51 mi.
(C) 104.0 cm.
(D) 0.177 m.

Sections 70854, 70855
Exam code: quiz01bL0t
(A) : 2 students
(B) : 54 students
(C) : 1 student
(D) : 0 students
(E) : 4 students

Success level: 89%
Discrimination index (Aubrecht & Aubrecht, 1983): 0.33

[Version 2]
The measurement with the greatest number of significant figures is:
(A) 0.00610 mm.
(B) 51 mi.
(C) 104.0 cm.
(D) 0.177 m.
(E) (More than one of the above choices.)

Correct answer (highlight to unhide): (C)

Sections 70854, 70855
Exam code: quiz01bL0t
(A) : 7 students
(B) : 0 students
(C) : 46 students
(D) : 0 students
(E) : 7 students

Success level: 75%
Discrimination index (Aubrecht & Aubrecht, 1983): 0.53