[ExI] watson on jeopardy

David Lubkin lubkin at unreasonable.com
Thu Feb 17 16:26:49 UTC 2011

Darren wrote:

>Jeopardy? For each question there is only one 
>right answer, and therefore only one right move

Aside, at least once a game there's a question 
with more than one valid answer. (Sometimes it 
didn't come up but I spotted it anyway.) 
Contestants must proceed based on Trebek's 
initial ruling. If the research team confirms 
that the answer given was actually correct, 
scores are adjusted. I have seen a contestant 
brought back another day when they could have 
plausibly won the game had their answer been deemed correct.

There's a similar flaw in many kinds of 
test-taking, e.g., the Miller Analogies Test. A 
is to B as C is to ___, (1) D (2) E (3) F (4) G. 
E is the only answer accepted as correct. But 
smart-you sees an interpretation whereby it's G. 
What should be done is provide space with each 
question to optionally provide a rationale. If 
the expected answer is given, accept it. If a 
different answer is given, see if there's a 
rationale and it makes sense. (Still won't help 
if the test scorer is a dolt who doesn't 
understand your rationale, but it's an improvement.)

Otherwise both Jeopardy and the tests become 
guessing games. Not what's the right answer, but 
what's the one they would have thought of.

-- David.

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